Toward a holistic and data-driven framework to evaluate livestock-derived protein systems

Karl, Kevin; DeFries, Ruth S.; Baethgen, Walter E.; Furtado, Marcelo; Potent, Jeffrey B.; Méndez Leal, Elena; Mencos Contreras, Erik A.; Rosenzweig, Cynthia E.

The environmental toll of protein production systems, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and land use associated with the production of livestock-derived foods, poses a substantial challenge for global agricultural sustainability. At the same time, livestock possess significant cultural and economic value for billions, while providing essential macro- and micronutrients. Such tensions fuel a debate on how to optimize livestock production systems, with implications for global nutrition, the environment, and society. Here, we introduce the Protein for Nutrition, Environment, and Society (ProNES) framework to address challenges related to the holistic evaluation of livestock-derived protein systems. ProNES uses publicly available data to comprehensively assess livestock-derived commodities in terms of their nutritional, social, economic, and environmental aspects. The exercise underscores areas where data gaps must be filled for more precise assessments, such as the contributions of livestock production systems to livelihoods across a range of geographic, economic, and sociocultural contexts.


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