If you were looking for me this morning, you’d have found me sitting in the woods with our goats. Twice a week from now until October my mom and I are taking our goats to a nearby retreat center to eat invasive species in their woods.
The spot that I am taking the goats to had timber harvested about eight years ago. As soon as the trees were cut, all the invasive species had the light and space to grow. Since there was not a proper plan for the cleared land (such as planting more trees in tree tubes), the invasive species took off. Now, the forest floor in that part of the forest is covered in multi-floral rose, autumn olive and raspberry–things that will take over if they are not eradicated. Moreover, new trees cannot be established or planted until all these species are gone.
The retreat center was very against chemicals to eradicate the invasives, hence where our goats come in. The retreat center used to have goats, but they were never put to good use, and the center doesn’t have them any more. We live three minutes away and have three goats. We were willing to make a test out of this forest area. Our goal was to see how well three goats could control a couple of acres of invasive species.
We’ve taken our goats down five times now, and they just love the eating. Since it is just a test, we don’t expect all the invasives to be gone over the course of these next five months. However, my hope is that once we have a fuller understanding of what goats can do to control invasive species, an appeal will be able to be made to the retreat center to have on site goats with a live in goatherd. The goats would be able to be on the land all day every day and eat the invasive species down so that trees could be planted. In the end, a healthy forest would be established.
I will be posting updates every few weeks with pictures to illustrate how this control of invasive species in this forest is going. Hopefully you all will learn more about goats, plants, trees and sustainable forest management from them.
- Hildegarde enjoying the sun.
- Hildegarde again. You can see the low, brushy invasive species in the background.
- May apple blossoms and leaves. The goats don’t like them.
- Wild geranium. The goats also don’t like this.