Munching Goats

How Goats are Being Used to Remove an Invasive Plant

Phragmites Take Over!

Phragmites, the common reed grass native to Europe, has spread all over eastern US and Canada, taking over the marshlands and swamps, destroying plants native to the regions in the process. Many have suggested getting rid of the invasive species with controlled burns, bulldozers, and even toxic herbicides. However, goats were recently brought up as a new, less aggressive solution to the problem.

Who's Idea is This?

Duke University was the one to bring up this seemingly ridiculous idea, but hey! It works. The process is done by bringing in goats from local farms to eat away at the plants. Duke can be contacted duke.edu. All donations to the university helps funding for the project.

How Invasive are the Common Reeds, Anyway?

The phragmites truly are a nightmare. They spread quickly, threatening to take over the US and Canadian marshlands, and easily grow taller than 10 feet! They do not break no matter how much they bend, and were recently discovered to poison neighboring plants from the roots up, completely disintegrating. This toxin is called gallic acid, and phragmites are immune to their own poison. To make things worse, a deadly microorganism lives in the toxin. As far as anyone knows, we do not know how to combat this microbe.

If it weren't for goats, what would the damage be with herbicides?

Goats truly are a less aggressive fix to the reeds, especially when compared to herbicides. It has been proven that grasses continue to be highly toxic even after plants have died away. The land will likely become infertile. As animals eat the toxic plants, their fecal matter will be more concentrated and more toxic. Their offspring will have levels of herbicides in their body as well. To sum it up, goats don't produce this problem since they are all natural and toxic-free.

Lessons To Be Learned

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Overcoming Adversity, Unexpected Events, and Freedom!

The phragmites truly are misfortune and adversity that is still being worked on today, but the use of goats is helping us overcome this problem. To think that something as infestive and big as the reed plants could be overcome by tiny goats, which is highly unexpected! You don't even need to thin about ow this is unexpected. As we slowly overcome the reeds and open more land, we are experiencing freedom. The land that we thought was lost forever is coming back into view. We need to look for important lessons in everything, such as these magnificent goats; we would learn that, in good news and bad, there is something to learn.

Citations

Gammon, Crystal. "Goats t=Take on a Notorious Invasive Species." Csmonitor.com. The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Oct. 2014. Web. 8 Jan. 2015.

Sullivan, Dan. "Killer Compost Update: Herbicide Damage Still A Major Problem." Mothr Earth News 256 (2013):14 MAS Ultra-School Edition. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

Martin, Rebecca. "Wondernose (December 2002)." Nature Friend dec. 2002: 8-10 DB - SIRS Discoverer. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

Bell, Lydia. "The Secret Life of Weeds." Ebscohost.com. GALILEO, Feb. 2008. Web. 12 JAn. 2015.