The Long Island Invasive Species Management Area
LIISMA Specific Documents
Project Funding Information
Test of goat grazing on woody invasive plant species
The Nature Conservancy 2005-2006
Long Island, New York
CLICK HERE for a presentation of a goat grazing project TNC carried out at the Suffolk County Farm in 2005-2005. The project was managed by Kathy Schwager, Bill Jacobs and Marilyn Jordan. Results were presented at the August 24, 2006 meeting of the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA).
Goats are great at eating woody plants, and will even eat the bark off of trees. They also eat some herbaceous plants, but first they eat woody species, then they move on to herbaceous plants in order of their gastronomic preference. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is down near the bottom of the goat menu. Swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum and C. louisae) are toxic. Grass cover tends to either increase slightly, or remain unchanged, as long as there are plenty of other plants to eat.
Goats eat more intensively "close to home" (i.e. location of water and shelter) than farther away. Thus a long narrow pen like the one we used is not the ideal shape for uniform woody control, though good for seeing effects of browse along an intensity gradient. Browsing doesn't kill woody plants after just one summer of goat exposure, so when goats are removed the woodies (and other plants) grow back. Repeated browsing for a couple of years, or following one year of browse with herbicide in year two, would be required for permanent kill of woody plants (and possibly herbaceous perennials).
So goats are good for woody control in grasslands. Not good for forests where abundant deer already fill the goat niche much too well.
Marilyn J. Jordan, Ph.D.
Senior Conservation Scientist
The Nature Conservancy on Long Island
Uplands Farm Sanctuary
250 Lawrence Hill Rd.
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 USA
(631) 367-3384 Ext. 121
These videos include information on Prevention, Mechanical and Herbicide Control
These are fact sheets on the best ways to control common invasive plants