Project background – University of Copenhagen

ReUseWaste > About > Background

Project background

Global livestock production is developing dramatically on a global scale, with trends towards increasing concentration on large specialised production units to improve profitability (Steinfeld et al., 2006; 2010). These changes in production systems have resulted in increased pollution of air, aquifers, surface waters and soil. A major concern is also the uncoupling of the sites of animal feed production and animal production, through the (economic) driving forces specialization, intensification and up-scaling. This leads to surplus amounts of animal manure in areas where livestock are produced. As a conses¬quence, an increasing number of livestock farms have insufficient land for efficient use of manure nutrients, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, where the manure N input density in many regions of Europe exceed 120 kg manure N ha-1. There is a strong relationship between the livestock density and N surplus with great risk of loss to the environment (Olesen et al., 2006, Velthof et al., 2009) and in the European Union, the maximum amount of manure to be applied to agricultural land is regulated, through the Nitrates Directive (EC, 1991) and the IPPC Directive (EC, 1996). Therefore, the ReUseWaste network has been deliberately established with partners from some of the most livestock intensive regions of Europe.

Figure: (a) Intensity of animal production in Europe (expressed as kg manure N/ha agricult. land. JRC: EUR-22334, 2006) and with location of full project partners indicated (b) Soil organic matter levels in Europe (% carbon in topsoil, JRC: Soil Atlas of Europe, 2008)

Evidently it is necessary for the agricultural livestock industry to develop new environmental technologies to meet global challenges related to environmental impact and sustainability. The industry needs to improve management and utilisation of organic matter and nutrient resources in animal wastes, in order to reduce gaseous emissions of greenhouse gases, ammonia and odor, and to improve energy output and limit the impact on soil and water quality.

ReUseWaste | Contact | Hosted at University of Copenhagen