25 October 2011

Grazing for fuel reduction

| johnboy
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Territory And Municipal Services have a story on their use of grazing for fuel reduction:

“Grazing is a crucial, if oft forgotten, component of the ACT’s hazard reduction program,” said Neil Cooper, Manager, Fire Management Unit.

“This year we intend to graze more than 7000 hectares across 76 separate sites.

“Strategic grazing serves to not only remove bushfire fuel, but it also ensures the remaining fuels are compacted. Bushfires will burn at a lower intensity in grazed areas and as such are much more readily controlled.

“We work with agistees to ensure that locations are grazed to achieve strategic fuel management objectives, specifically those adjacent to identified assets. Staff from Territory and Municipal Services’ Fire Management Unit have identified these locations and ensured that fencing is in place and water is available.

“Cattle are being introduced to a number of sites in the Weston Creek area this week including Narrabundah Hill, the Bicentennial Horse Trail on Cooleman Ridge and Fisher Parkland.”

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Floydwafer said :

Unfortuantely goats will eat more than just the grass……

yes, goats will eat combustable material

Poor old Charlie Russell, who died about 10 years ago, spent almost all his life grazing sheep and cattle around a large part of this area. He spent his last dozen or so years in battle with Federal and ACT governments, who slowly squeezed him out.

I remember talking to him when he was claiming that his cattle were the best way of keeping down feral weeds and reducing bushfire risk.

He may or may not have been right but he would be having a wry old chuckle now, I think.

Didn’t know that cows ate pine trees.

Unfortuantely goats will eat more than just the grass……

I had noticed cattle in Stromlo Forest down near Coppins Crossing over the last few weeks.

Using grazing to reduce fuel loads had pluses and minus in term of efficiency, effectiveness, speed, cost etc. Burning or slashing both have pros and cons to.

Good to see that the ACT government are using a variety of approaches, hopefully each were it is most appropriate.

This is a good idea, of course taking note of environmentally sensitive areas; the program should be extended to include smaller more strategic areas that can’t be accessed easily with machinery. There are companies around the world that set up temporary fences and run herds of goats to clear land instead of using machinery. Seem to work well and the goats get paid in grass.
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