Goats are not just the brand image of Poiares, they might also save its forests

One of the municipal parishes will count on a fire-prevention herd of these animals

  • Domingo, 11 de Outubro de 2020, 11:30h
  • Author Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Medium goats

Authorities in Vila Nova de Poiares were glad to report on 9 October about the successful approval of a project concerning the São Miguel de Poiares Parish, which forms part of the municipality. The Parish Council will receive 25 000 euros from the Permanent Forest Fund of the ICNF (the Portuguese Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation) for the creation of a specialized herd of ‘sapadora’ goats.

The word ‘sapadora’ (‘trailblazer’) in this case does not refer to a specific breed but defines the job that the animals will be tasked with, which is grazing the shrubs in order to limit the spread of forest fires.

Did you know that the proper name for a herd of goats is a ‘trip’?

The trip of goats will operate on the wasteland areas of São Miguel and Lavegadas, which comprise some 51 hectares, classified as being under a high or a very high risk of fire. Some might wonder how the goats would be useful in the prevention of wildfires.

The reality is that this ‘innovation’ has very ancient roots. In the past pastoralist practices had the multiple benefits not only of providing meat, milk and hides for the farmers, but it regulated the balance in the local ecosystem. Grazing animals, such as goats, reduce the amount of accumulated shrubbery which otherwise provides easy fuel for fires to feed on.

The ruminant animals can create patches in the greenery and thus provide natural barriers for the fires to spread. This is a sustainable way to maintain eco-resilience in the municipality.

Poiares has had a long connection with goats. That is why it is no surprise that the animal has become the main focus of the local anchor brand - Poiares Capriland®, unveiled back in 2016 and also depicting a goat head as its logo.

The new initiative, therefore, fits perfectly within that programme. Another notable initiative was the creation and promotion of the Capriniculture Skills Centre (CCC), based in Vila Nova de Poiares.

The CCC is an institution aiming to bring together all the economic and scientific actors, together with relevant public bodies that are concerned with the development and sustainability of the goat farming sector in Portugal.



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