They’re hungry, they’re adorable, and they’re the unlikely helpers in our fight to keep wildfires at bay! These hooved heroes are munching their hearts out to make those devastating flames easier to control. That’s right, goats are on the heated case. But why are goats so good at this job? And who’s leading this charge?

We’re heading to Australia to learn how a group of community-minded folks is returning the fire-prone weedy forests of Daylesford back to healthy grass woodlands with the use of hand tools, and of course, goats!

This is one of the most innovative, simple, yet effective tactics we’ve seen in controlling these fires, and it’s one that can be replicated anywhere!

Replacing controlled-burning with controlled-eating!

One of the most widely used methods for protecting communities from wildfires is the use of controlled burns. These small man-made fires are meant to take out all of the super flammable brush on the forest floor so that when the eventual wildfires come through, they don’t have much fuel to keep burning.

The thing with this plan is that the next year, they have to do it all over again. These controlled fires reset the entire forest floor back to step one, causing the first plants that grow—typically brambles like blackberry bushes—to take over, again and again, continuing the cycle.

Thankfully, goats are now at work to regenerate these forests back to their natural systems!

Folks like the ones over at Goathand Cooperative in Australia have a plan to restore these forests filled with brush to the grassy woodlands they were meant to be. This calls for clearing out the brush, year after year so that the next phase of plants can start to grow! Eventually, in a few years, these brambles will turn into a beautiful, lush, grassy paradise that’s naturally more defensive against fires.

To do this, they bring in the help of some very selective and deliberate eaters—you guessed it—goats! Here’s how they make it all happen in this wonderful short video from Happen Films.

To see more about Goathand Cooperative, check out their blogspot site. You can also find tons more videos on how people are teaming up with goats to regenerate lands all over the globe with a simple search. This one from SciFri about how goats are helping in Southern California is fantastic!

I’ve also written another article with more wonders about our goat friends in the past. You can find that article here:

17 minutes

Explore Joy, Wonder, and Insight in an Unexpected Package: Goats!

Let's get to know an animal with fascinating adaptations for survival and 10,000-year history beside us! We're going to investigate the world of these split-hooved, 280-degree peering creatures. Join us for a pajama party, a look into what makes a goat a living marvel, and how they can help us innovate!

Read More

If you’d like to see more delightful content from Happen Films, make sure you check out their library.

A delightful win-win!

Isn’t it wonderful when the solutions to our problems end up with benefits for all parties involved? In this case, the woodlands flourish with plants and animals, our homes are protected from fires, and goats are able to nibble on some of their favorite treats!

The more that we create plans like this where everybody involved profits in some way, the more that we’ll find ourselves in a more sustainable place. And time and time again, it seems that the best way to do that is to study the natural workings of our world. Who is already doing the task that we’d like done?

We would love to hear from you if you apply the insights in this article to some problem you’re trying to solve in your world. Please share with us!

Looking to clear out a ton of brush? Goats would love to help. Want to scare off a bunch of birds from your fruit?  Falcons are on the case! And if you’d like to find out how to decompose plastic… well, this tiny bacteria munching away on it can give you a clue.

If that isn’t enough proof, take a peek at these articles next!

7 minutes

Need to Solve a Problem? Turn to Nature!

The natural world is a remarkable problem solver. So, why aren't we turning to nature to find more answers to our complex problems? Here's how biomimicry is helping us build a better future!

Read More

6 minutes

Bugs Raining from the Sky?! They’re Strawberry Superheroes!

Do you like strawberries? You have a little red bug to thank for their safety! Each year, millions of crops (including strawberries) are under threat of being destroyed by spider mites. But farmers and scientists have once again teamed up with nature to solve the problem. Here's the story of persimilis—a surprising hero on the agricultural stage!

Read More

7 minutes

Meet the Rescue Dogs Saving the Environment!

Rescue dogs are now becoming conservation superheroes too! Meet the pups getting a new life at the forefront of saving ecosystems, anti-poaching, and amazing conservation efforts.

Read More

We even have a whole circle on this subject for you to explore!

The Remarkable Ways We’re Teaming up with Nature!

We can find remarkable progress when we put our focus on teaming up with nature! From leaps in sustainable farming and transportation, pest prevention and healthcare, explore this circle to discover the awesome partnerships we've already created.

Read More

As always, stay open to new possibilities! For maybe, just maybe, your biggest problems can be solved with a herd of goats.

Image: goat eating a fern and looking at the camera

Source: Pixabay

  • Sam

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Notes:

  1. Happen Films. “How Goats Are Regenerating a Forest and Protecting This Town from Bushfire.” YouTube, 11 Aug. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9yiclBCxMo. Accessed 18 Mar. 2021.

Sam Burns

Editor in Chief

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.