Results from a study seeking to understand the role of goats as a tool for conservation and restoration efforts and conducted at The Ohio State University’s Pomerene Forestry Laboratory in Coshocton, Ohio are now available.
Researchers studied goat browse selection in the oak-hickory forest, which has an understory dominated by a heavy infestation of invasive species.
Utilizing experimental plots under different browsing pressure regimes, the researchers were able to examine browsing intake and preference by goats. Their findings suggest conservation grazing can be an effective tool to reduce invasive species biomass such as multiflora rose, privet (Ligustrum spp.), and oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) in oak-hickory forests when high browsing pressure is implemented, although, goats may initially target their preferred species (e.g., spicebush).
This work was funded by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center through SEEDS grant number OHOA1651 and by The Ohio State University Sustainability Institute.
Novais, W., Wenner, B.A., Block, J.A. et al. Goat browse selectivity during conservation grazing in an invaded eastern oak-hickory forest. Agroforest Syst (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-023-00810-w
Photos courtesy of Dr. Matt Davies.