Pacific BioEnergy is testing the use of Cariboo goats and sheep in the Bobtail Fire Rehabilitation area west of Prince George.
PacBio is working with BC Timber Goats of Quesnel that’s owned by Bruce Bradley.
His goats are currently working a site of approximately 100 hectares and explained the benefits of them rather than mechanical equipment and herbicide applications.
“A goat herd is really one big biological processor and that converts hazardous vegetation into nutritious biomass for the soil, so there’s a big soil remediation component to the goat. There’s a big conversation today about addressing climate change and sequestering carbon in farmland, goats enable forestry sectors to do that on a landscape level as well”.
Bradley added “Herbicides aren’t really that great for the environment and with manual brushing unfortunately the brush tends to come back at 500 percent so with goats the rationale is that by sapping the energy out of the trees they’re not going to come back and sap so hard and turn into those giant bushes, kind of like tree bushes. We’re hoping that this is going to be more effective in the long run than manual brushing”.
PacBio Woodlands Manager Joe Kenney said to use goats and sheep in this area of the Bobtail Fire Rehabilitation area was to continue moving forward on the company’s sustainability efforts.
“Goats and sheep are very good for brushing in that they eat all the herbaceous weeds and whatnot and the deciduous trees and leave the conifer trees there to get established and start taking over the site”.
Kenney said avoiding the use of loud, diesel-driven mechanical equipment together with the benefits of using goats and sheep should have an incredibly positive outcome for the recently planted seedlings and area wildlife in the Bobtail Fire Rehabilitation area.
The use of goats and sheep to help with reforestation was common in the 1990s and earlier in the BC Interior but the practice has become less common since then.