Goat production as a mitigation strategy to climate change vulnerability in semi-arid tropics
Keywords:Goat production, Adaptation, Mitigation, Climate change, Semi-arid tropics
Due to climatic variability in semi arid tropics, livestock production faces many challenges that threaten its viability. This is a review that looks at the potential of goat production as one of the many mitigating strategies in confronting climate change in semi arid tropics. The discussion focuses on specific goat ethological, morphological and physiological characteristics that have environmental adaptation implications. Physiological, behavioral and morphological responses let goats effectively thrive in unfavorable climate change induced environmental conditions. These responses are important in matching goats to specific environmental conditions and ensuring a sustainable level of production. Severe feed shortages resulting from changes in rainfall pattern, and water scarcity are some of the major climate change induced environmental stressors, which have caused livestock capacity decline. Their negative influence on livestock production calls for use of adapted livestock species to cope with unavoidable climate change effects. Goats have shown to be a remarkable animal species that possess distinctive qualities enabling it to excel efficiently in harsh tropical environments. As climate change takes a centre stage in defining livestock productivity in semi arid tropics, there is greater need to stress what type of livestock species to keep. Therefore, the selection of adapted livestock species will be critical in sustaining productivity under this increasingly challenging environment. Identification of livestock species adaptable to semi arid tropics, is recommended for achieving sustainable levels of production. This is on the understanding that selection of adapted livestock species counteracts the negative effects of climate change in such a way that productivity can be maintained and improved. While other species tend to be highly vulnerable, goats have evolved a unique and fascinating array of physiological, morphological and reproductive characteristics, which have contributed to their survival and proliferation in unique unfavorable tropical environmental niches. This points to the fact that promotion of goat production may be a viable mitigation strategy in the context of climate change. It is thus suggested that as climatic variability worsens, goats will assume a critical role in livestock production due to their adaptive features, such as feeding behavior, disease and heat tolerance. These behavioral, morphological and physiological characteristics enable goats to effectively cope with the stressful nature of the vast semi arid tropics. The discussion concludes with the understanding that promotion of goats becomes a key component of semi arid tropics livestock production systems. Due to goats’ numerical strength and greater adaptability to varying harsh tropical environmental conditions, they offer a compelling solution to livestock production capacity utilization to minimize destabilizing factors associated with the uncertainties of climate change.
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