Notes: Effects of Goats on Understory Vegetation and Fire Hazard Reduction in a Coastal Forest in California
This paper examines the effects of goat grazing on understory forage utilization and fire hazard reduction in a 1 ha area of a Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) and red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) forest as well as in a 1 ha area of an adjacent fuelbreak. Stocking rates of 600 Spanish goats/ha for 1 day reduced cover of the brush understory in the forest by 41% and 48% respectively at heights of < 0.5m and 0.5-1.5m. In the fuelbreak stocked at 280 Spanish goats/ha for 3 days the reduction was 46% and 82% at < 0.5m and 0.5-1.5m, respectively. Forage biomass utilization reached 75% in the brush understory and 84% in the fuelbreak. In the brush understory goats grazed more at the upper height (84%) than at the lower (64%). Grazing reduced 1- and 10-hour dead fuels 33% and 58% respectively, while the litter depth was reduced as much as 27%. For. Sci. 35(4):1125-1131.
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