Biomass Burning Alternatives - Grazing

This page last reviewed July 7, 2008

Grazing involves the use of animals to control the composition and rate of growth of brush and grasses (live fuels).

Cattle have a limited range of palatable vegetation. Grasses and forbs are preferred, however a number of perennial woody brush species are also palatable. For instance, deer brush (Ceanothus intergerimus) is a highly valued forage for cattle. Cattle can be used on large, free-range areas to control the rate of growth of vegetation.

Goats have a wider range of forage species. In addition to grasses and forbs, goats will consume many brush and tree species. Goats can be used in smaller, confined areas to control species composition, rate of growth, or to eliminate vegetation.

Equipment Needed for Grazing:
  • Permanent or temporary fencing
    (Some species can be staked)
  • Meat
  • Fiber
Advantages of Grazing:
  • Generally socially acceptable
  • Returns plant nutrients back to soil
  • Can significantly reduce live fuels
Disadvantages of Grazing:
  • Can cause damage to sensitive habitats
  • Can be smelly, loud and dusty
    (Not suited for urban interface)
  • Possible crop tree injury
  • Requires multiple treatments
  • No effect on unpalatable species