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How Goats are Regenerating a Forest and Protecting an Australian Town from Bushfires

Source: YouTube / Happenfilms

The story of a community-led permaculture initiative to mitigate forest fire risk using goats and hand tools rather than herbicides, heavy machinery, and burn-offs.

From Weedy Forests to Grassy Woodlands… thanks to goats

Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are in one of the most bushfire vulnerable regions in Victoria. With fire seasons increasing each year, new methods are needed to mitigate the risk without further destroying ecologies and their habitats. A community-led permaculture initiative called Goathand is developing a unique method of environmental bushfire mitigation. Their combination of goat-herders using hand tools and Boer goats as dynamic woody weed eaters and stompers is a highly effective and sensitive way to reduce fuel loads and dominant weed species, and to renew indigenous biota in the steep gullies around Daylesford and Hepburn in Central Victoria.

Source: Goathand.blogspot.com

Goats and hand tools provide a unique method of environmental bushfire mitigation

Happen Films latest production, From Weedy Forests to Grassy Woodlands’ is a short movie that tells the story of a community-led permaculture initiative to mitigate forest fire risk using goats and hand tools rather than herbicides, heavy machinery, and burn-offs. 

On the edge of Daylesford—a town on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria, Australia prone to massive bush fires—a small group of community-minded folk have pulled together to work towards restoring the ecology of their commons forest – in order to stop the future need for controlled burn-offs by the local fire authority.

Burn-offs keep the township safe from out-of-control fires, but they hinder the forest’s ability to regenerate, and thus cannot provide the environment necessary for the diversity of insects, birds and animals that are necessary in a healthy forest on a healthy planet. Restoring the forest also allows for traditional indigenous burns to take place, as the danger created by flammable non-native species has been reduced.

The work being done by the Goathand Cooperative is not only showing stunning results on the forest floor, it’s having much broader effects: the forest’s wildlife is thriving, the goats are healthy and happy, but in addition neighbours previously dubious about the project have come on board, so that new and strong community connections are being made. 

And as one Cooperative member says in the film, an important re-connection is also being made with nature. “We haven’t always been trammellers of land,” says Patrick Jones. This connection to the soil and to the forest is, he believes, “our way back to sanity”.

From Weedy Forests to Grassy Woodlands offers inspiration to anyone looking for ways to regenerate their own or a commons forest, anyone feeling the urgency of mitigating the potential disasters of forest fires in the most natural way possible, anyone in a locality and position to use goats for that purpose, and just anyone seeking reconnection to the earth that created and sustains us! Follow the Goathand Cooprative.

Source: YouTube/HappenFilms

prone to massive bush fires—a small group of community-minded folk have pulled together to work towards restoring the ecology of their commons forest – in order to stop the future need for controlled burn-offs by the local fire authority.
On the edge of Daylesford—a town on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria, Australia prone to massive bush fires—a small group of community-minded folk have pulled together to work towards restoring the ecology of their commons forest – in order to stop the future need for controlled burn-offs by the local fire authority. Source: Goathand.blogspot.com
Restoring the forest also allows for traditional indigenous burns to take place, as the danger created by flammable non-native species has been reduced.
Burn-offs keep the township safe from out-of-control fires, but they hinder the forest’s ability to regenerate, and thus cannot provide the environment necessary for the diversity of insects, birds and animals that are necessary in a healthy forest on a h Restoring the forest also allows for traditional indigenous burns to take place, as the danger created by flammable non-native species has been reduced. Source: theartistasfamily.blogspot.com
the forest’s wildlife is thriving, the goats are healthy and happy, but in addition neighbours previously dubious about the project have come on board, so that new and strong community connections are being made.
The work being done by the Goathand Cooperative is not only showing stunning results on the forest floor, it’s having much broader effects: the forest’s wildlife is thriving, the goats are healthy and happy, but in addition neighbours previously dubious about the project have come on board, so that new and strong community connections are being made. Source: theartistasfamily.blogspot.com
“We haven’t always been trammellers of land,” says Patrick Jones. This connection to the soil and to the forest is, he believes, “our way back to sanity”.
And as one Cooperative member says in the film, an important re-connection is also being made with nature. “We haven’t always been trammellers of land,” says Patrick Jones. This connection to the soil and to the forest is, he believes, “our way back to sanity”. Source: YouTube/HappenFilms
anyone feeling the urgency of mitigating the potential disasters of forest fires in the most natural way possible, anyone in a locality and position to use goats for that purpose, and just anyone seeking reconnection to the earth that created and sustains us!
From Weedy Forests to Grassy Woodlands offers inspiration to anyone looking for ways to regenerate their own or a commons forest, anyone feeling the urgency of mitigating the potential disasters of forest fires in the most natural way possible, anyone in a locality and position to use goats for that purpose, and just anyone seeking reconnection to the earth that created and sustains us! Source: YouTube/HappenFilms
Source: YouTube/HappenFilms
How Goats are Regenerating a Forest and Protecting this Town from Bushfire From Weedy Forests to Grassy Woodlands tells the story of a community-led permaculture initiative to mitigate forest fire risk using goats and hand tools rather than herbicides, heavy machinery, and burn-offs. On the edge of Daylesford, a town on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria. Source: YouTube/HappenFilms

Happen Films

For more info about Happen Films, check out their website. They make short films and feature films, all with a permaculture, resilience, sustainability focus. Find them on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube 

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GOATHAND NEEDS NEW EQUIPMENT AND GOATS

With the next fire season on our doorstep, we're getting prepared but we need your help. If you are able to support us you can do so here.