Modelling the spatial distribution of livestock in Europe

K. Neumann, B.S. Elbersen, P.H. Verburg, I.G. Staritsky, M. Pérez-Soba, W. de Vries, W.A. Rienks

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Livestock remains the world¿s largest user of land and is strongly related to grassland and feed-crop production. Assessments of environmental impacts of livestock farming require detailed knowledge of the presence of livestock, farming practices, and environmental conditions. The present Europe-wide livestock distribution information is generally restricted to a spatial resolution of NUTS 2 (province level). This paper presents a modelling approach to determine the spatial distribution of livestock at the landscape level. Location factors for livestock occurrence were explored and applied to consistent and harmonized EU-wide regional statistics to produce a detailed spatial distribution of livestock numbers. Both an expert-based and an empirical approach were applied in order to disaggregate the data to grid level. The resulting livestock maps were validated. Results differ between the two downscaling approaches but also between livestock types and countries. While both the expert-based and empirical approach are equally suited to modelling herbivores, in general, the spatial distribution of monogastrics can be better modelled by applying the empirical approach
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1222
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • production systems
  • emissions

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