Goats may be best weapon against invasive species
Goats seem to prefer buckthorn over bergamot – and that’s a good thing for biologists.
Students in Susan Dudley’s third-year biology field course got a lesson in chemical-free ecosystem rehabilitation this week when they travelled to the McMaster Forest with a small herd of goats.
Dudley and her class wanted to see if the goats could be used in the fight against invasive species found in the University-owned, 48-hectare forest, which extends west along Lower Lions Club Road from Wilson Street.
As it turns out, the goats seemed to prefer plants like buckthorn and orchard grass over native species like wild bergamot and black-eyed Susan.
Goats are becoming popular among environmentally-conscious landowners who want to control invasive plant populations without the use of toxic chemicals.
Dudley says the next step would be to set up a more formal experiment with the goats, to see what they would eat over the course of multiple days on the property.