Conservation nightmare

Jane McGary
Wed, 23 Jul 2003 12:45:29 PDT
<x-flowed>Anyone who has visited countries where goat herding is common is familiar 
with the terribly degraded condition of the native flora, especially where 
this animal has been introduced recently among plants that have not had 
millennia to adapt to this pressure. Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service, we 
will soon get a chance to see this type of disaster in the U.S. Southwest 
near Prescott, Arizona.

According to a news report (LA Time-Washington Post Service, publ. in 
Portland Oregonian, 23 July 2003, p. A6), the USFS is experimenting with 
turning herds of goats, managed by Navajo herders, loose to chew a 
"perimeter" between Prescott National Forest and "wilderness homes." The 
report states: "The uneaten plot is thick with green shrubs that make it 
nearly impossible to walk without tripping. The finished product [after 
goat grazing] has open areas with nubs of oak shrubs, mountain mahogany, 
and manzanita. 'These little guys are 100 percent focused. They're eating 
this stuff like ice cream,' said [a USFS project assistant]."

And where do threatened native bulbs grow in the American West and other 
dry regions?

They grow among the shrubs -- and they are mostly very palatable to grazing 

Let's hope this "management strategy" never gets beyond the experimental stage!

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon -- in a potential forest fire zone, and with NO GOATS.

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