SauKlim: The ecology and economy of sheep production under climate change
Sheep utilize grass forage resources in landscapes too poor to use for more intensive agricultural purposes, and sheep husbandry is a cornerstone of the economy in many rural areas of Norway. Currently some 2 million sheep are released each summer onto outlying pastures.
The predicted climate change with more precipitation, warmer temperature, and an overall increase in variability are of an order of magnitude that several stages in the production cycle of sheep may be affected.
The overall aim is to understand how climate variability affects the ecology and economy of sheep production in ecosystems differing in productivity and stocking rates to enable prediction of how climatic regimes can best be met by management actions.
Sheep grazing in alpine ecosystems. There is large annual variation in climate on body growth of lambs -both due to delayed effects of last years winters snow (delaying onset of growing season) - as well as current weather effects on plants. Pic: Atle Mysterud
The project will perform analysis of extensive (>8 million lambs) and long-term (21 yrs) data on autumn lamb body mass and litter size from the whole of Norway coupled with (full coverage) satellite data on climate, local weather and plant development (NDVI) to determine the links by which climate affect sheep production. Data on pasture production of winter forage (timothy) and sales of concentrate will enable discerning also delayed effects on other stages in the production cycle.
Through economic modelling within a dynamic sheep-plant framework, and knowledge from the planned analysis on any climate and stocking rate interaction, the optimal stocking rates with increased climate variability will be estimated at alpine ranges differing in habitat productivity.
The project aim to end with concrete advice as to how farmers can buffer climate effects (e.g. stocking rates, birth dates, more dynamic release dates, change of breeds or winter feeding), and to understand what might be the main constraints to buffering for climate effects (e.g., limited space in barn, spring pastures etc.).
NFR - "Mat-programmet"; 1.04.2009-30.06.2012.
Vi avholdt møte torsdag 19. april 2012 om "Sau, beiting og klima". Målet var å oppsummere kunnskap fra beiteprosjektene i Hol og Setesdal etter 10 års forskning, samt prosjektet SauKlim. Sentralt for møtet står diskusjon mellom forvaltere og forskere; hva kan vi gjøre nå, og hva gjenstår? Dette dannet samtidig basis for det nystartede MANECO.
Foredragene ligger her:
Del 1. Sauebeiteprosjektet
Mysterud: Innledning Beiteprosjektet
Austrheim: Plantene i Hol og Setesdal
Martinsen: Sau og økosystem - jordprosesser
Mysterud: Sau og annet mangfold
Del 2. SauKlim-prosjektet
Mysterud: Innledning SauKlim
Del 3. Sau, klima og beiting - veien videre
Mysterud: Hva har vi lært - og hva gjenstår?
Austrheim: MANECO - presentasjon av nytt prosjekt