This time of the year, there are forest fires in California and other regions of the USA. There are many theories analyzing the situation and recommending some unique ideas to be implemented for the control of the losses from the havoc blazes. As an experienced ethnoecologist and animal scientist, I’m pretty sure that grazing livestock can save our forests from the fire. As an example, the camel can clean the forests up to 10 feet in height. The sheep and cattle can clean the grasses. The goats can eat the bushes and shrubs.
This will have a very positive symbiotic impact on the ecosystem and there will be healthy animals and healthy forests. The microflora in camel manure enriches the microbiome diversity in the vegetation which ultimately impacts the rumen biome of the other livestock grazing in the same ecosystem. The livestock manure is 10 times better in soil fertility richness and home to many beneficial microorganisms.
According to my philosophy which I have learned from nature, if livestock grazing is allowed in the forests, there will be no fire. I’m 100% sure of that. The bushes, grass, and shrubs get to fire first because they are closest to the soil and their dried out leaves get fire and spread in the forest. The grazing animals can clean such close to the soil plants 3 or more times a year and the hazard of the fire will be minimum or even nil. The other benefits are the enriching the soil fertility and diversifying both the floral and faunal biodiversity.
Jeni Ahmet wrote to me that “this philosophy will certainly work in Australia, it would be a great help if implemented. Last summer Australia burned in the most horrendous fires in history. All-access to forests for livestock and people has been banned for a number of years resulting in a massive build-up of fuel. Catastrophic fires were the result and the loss of billions of lives of wildlife – including our iconic koalas – burned alive
But Cyndy McCurdy stresses using the right kind of livestock. Hard Hooved grazers do a lot of damage to the Australian Landscape but soft-footed browsers are ok and they eat weeds. But I would not agree with this approach. All type of livestock is the right livestock, only overgrazing should be avoided. The livestock hooves help in softening the soil and help in germinating the seeds. Some seeds need to be soaked and passing through the livestock gut is the best way of soaking to germinate.
Scientifically the fertility only increases with the livestock manure because livestock converts the grasses/leaves etc into an organic compost, which increases the soil fertility and gives texture and stability, resisting the water and wind erosion. Strong or hard hooves are no more very relevant. Even the hard hooves are required to make the soil fluffy for seed germination. According to Jeni Ahmet, the modern scientific thinking’s that it is all bad these “hard hooves” yet for decades when these forests were grazed by cattle and horses there were never ever such ferocious fires. Even the firefighters have said there was just way too much fuel. Some of these firefighters have done this job for decades. Banning the grazing is not looking like a smart move when you look at history.
Livestock grazing is a solution to many complicated issues that emerged in recent decades. Livestock is not a problem but a tool to control hazardous fires, enrich soil fertility, stabilize forests’ health, and provide us very nutritious food.