The first step to recovering forests is preventing external degradation (i.e. invasive grasses, fire and cattle that could eat the young seedlings) from hindering tree development. Fencing has been regarded as essential when restoring forests surrounded by pastures and effectively keeps cattle away from seedlings.
However, cattle can also be useful during the restoration process as they eat and therefore suppress invasive grasses. Like with many things, the dose makes the poison, or – in this case – the remedy. Practitioners have been increasingly testing controlled cattle release on restoration areas. The fact that cattle actually prefer the grasses to native seedlings, helps their case.
In the near future, we might find the perfect mix of using and excluding cattle for forest restoration.
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