Goat grazing as a wildfire prevention tool: a basic review

Lovreglio, Raffella; Meddour-Sahar, Ouahiba; Leone, Vittorio
August 2014
iForest - Biogeosciences & Forestry;2014, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p260
Academic Journal
Fuel treatments aimed at reducing both horizontal and vertical continuity in fuels are of paramount importance as a prevention measure against fire propagation. Possible techniques include pruning, thinning (mainly low thinning), mastication, prescribed burning, and prescribed (or targeted) grazing. Their main target is crown fire avoidance by treating surface fuels and promoting low density and vertically discontinuous stands, thus eliminating fuel ladders. Grazing is an effective, nearly carbon-neutral weed control technique which is cost-effective, nontoxic, and nonpolluting. Goat grazing is a very interesting solution: if confined by a metallic or electrified fence within a restricted pen, with a rather high density, goats browse the available foliage and twigs from all woody plants as well as all herbaceous vegetation. They can feed on a variety of shrubs, some of which are useless for other domestic species, and are therefore the best adapted for the consumption of all the Mediterranean shrubs which represent the fuel ladder. The appropriate choice of season of grazing, type of plant species and type and amount of biomass to be eliminated, livestock density, social structure of the herd, grazing time per day, type of fencing, and size of pens define the prescribed grazing system.


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