If something works, why touch it? Faced with the complex challenge of forest conservation and thinking about how to deal with the risk of wildfire, especially in areas closest to cities, Barcelona officials have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to implement those strategies. Recovering what was already working well. our great-grandfather’s time,
A few months earlier, in April, the Barcelona City Council activated an experiment that was as traditional as it was unprecedented: using 130 sheep, 80 goats and several lambs to keep the Colcerola Natural Park at bay and thus From , reduce the risk of fire.
The pilot trial – presented by Councilor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition, Eloi Badia – proposes controlled grazing recovery of seasonal infections so that cattle clean the mountain, The idea was that, bite by bite, stomp by stomp, the animals would open up weed-free areas that could also serve as fire breaks.
It had already been warned that Colcerola records fifty fires each year, a crisis – warned the city council – that would increase its risk with climate change.
“We got back what was missing”
The pilot experience ended last month. And it has gone quite well,” a report published yesterday in Guardian– so that already has plans to expand with new flock Or even, if necessary, extend it to other green areas of Barcelona.
“We’re not inventing anything new. What we’re doing is finding something that already existed and was disappearing”, says Guillaume Canaleta of the Pau Costa Foundation, which already has similar initiatives in Girona province. He has accumulated experience with, tells the British newspaper.
In Colcerola itself, many herds were already grazing in other municipalities and similar formulas apply to hundreds or even thousands of kilometers of Catalonia. For example, in Andalusia, cattle have been used for decades to cut grass in the plains and valleys. The initiative already covers thousands of animals and allows a significant savings In land clearing work.
Today we found a herd of 290 sheep and goats in Barcelona, which will help us prevent fires under the seasonal transhuman regime.
There are about 50 fires every year #colserolaAnd the risk will be greater with climate change. pic.twitter.com/37qiBDGLmU
— Eloi Badia Kasas (@eloibadia) 6 April 2022
Beyond Spain, in California, British Columbia or Portugal, cattle have also been used to reduce the risk of wildfires. In addition to keeping forests clean, herds also provide other benefits: they fertilize, scattering seeds And drive away the wild boars too. In a way, they also give up an educational learning by bringing the herds closer to the cities.
The starting point is always the same: reviving an old tradition that made it possible to combat fire risk, often exacerbated by a combination of drought, climate change and rural migration. As Julia Ruet-Leduc from the University of Leipzig explains GuardianThe key, yes, goes through a combination with other methods, including clearing and controlled burning.
cover image | Xavier von Erlach (Unsplash)