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Relationships between geographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors and the diversity of livestock breeds worldwide

This study investigates the relationship between environmental, geographic, demographic and socio-economic factors and the diversity of livestock breeds reported within 158 countries, for four domestic mammal species (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs). In general, strong and positive correlations were found between agricultural area, human population size, species population size and number of breeds within countries. OECD countries also report more breeds than non-OECD countries. Among the parameters considered, species population size appears to be the most important explanatory factor for the number of breeds reported by countries for the four species. Diversity of production systems has a significant association with the number of breeds reported for sheep, goats and pigs. The number of ruminant breeds is positively associated with the size of the agricultural area and the diversity of land cover in the country. Thus, while demographic and cultural importance of a given species is a major factor associated with the number of livestock breeds within countries, this diversity is also connected to the variability in environmental and production conditions. This article is a shortened and translated version of the article « An exploratory analysis on how geographic, socioeconomic, and environmental drivers affect the diversity of livestock breeds worldwide » published in 2016 in the Journal of Animal Science, 94, 5055-5063.

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