The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) found that large herbivores can prevent and stop wildfires. They can replace more expensive ways of fighting forest fires, such as firefighting and mechanical vegetation removal.
According to Phys.org, large-scale land abandonment is happening across the world, and the risk of firebreaks is increasing. The main way of stopping these fires is firefighting, but now, researchers are discovering other, naturally effective ways.
A team of international researchers examined current studies showing connections between herbivores, vegetation structure, and fire risk. They concluded that herbivores can successfully prevent forest fires.
Not only domestic animals can do the job, but also reintroduced wild and semi-wild herbivores. They can be effective in reducing wildfire risk, especially in remote and inaccessible areas where careful management with herbivores can combine wildfire prevention with nature conservation.
Julia Rouet-Leduc, Lead author of the study and doctoral researcher at iDiv and Leipzig University
The researchers say that fires are a natural occurrence and that people have to learn to live with them.
However, installing natural policies, such as having wild herbivores do extensive grazing, can help areas facing land abandonment.
In Europe, there are policies to support farmers, and allow animals to do the work in a cost-efficient way.
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