In a co-authored op-ed for SF Gate, Kelly Schultz ’24 argues that goats have the potential to curb wildfires through their grazing habits. Schultz and Manu Prabandham PO ’24, another Claremont Colleges student who studies climate change, argue that cultural burning practices are insufficient in the face of wildfire threat. Instead, they posit that goats’ lack of picky eating habits and taste for invasive, wildfire-prone plant species such as black mustard make them ideal allies during wildfire season.
“A herd of a hundred goats can eat thousands of pounds of vegetation off dozens of acres during a fire season,” they write. “Herds can be fenced off and removed from the designated land once they have finished clearing dry debris. In addition, goats can access steep terrain that humans struggle to access with Weedwackers and chain saws. And seeds and other debris that pass through their digestive tracts are no longer viable. Grazing is effective, harmless and easily managed.”