Park and Garden Maintenance: 6 good reasons for adopting ecological grazing!
If you come across a Soay sheep in the middle of Lille, you are not hallucinating! A few years ago, the city adopted a flock of sheep and the ecological grazing technique. Why? We talked to Plaine Environment Plaine Energie President Philippe Feugère, which gives not one but 6 good reasons for choosing ecological grazing to maintain your green spaces!
1. Environmental-friendly park management
Ecological grazing is an alternative to mowers and weed cutters… It consists in using herds or flocks of herbivorous animals to crop parks and gardens. More ecological than power tools, animals make little noise, produce less CO2 and allow the reintroduction of biodiversity in urban and suburban environments. They also make it possible to reduce the use of fertilisers and plant health products (see our dedicated article to know how to avoid these products) as the animals enrich the ground with their manure. With ecological grazing, meadows are easy to regenerate as the dejections of the herbivores contain seeds.
2. Ecological grazing is a tried and tested method
Between the animals and the fences, it takes a few years to amortise an investment in ecological grazing. But many French regions, départements and public authorities have already adopted sheep and other herbivores. French pioneers include the Essonne, the Hauts-de-France region and companies like the SNCF, the RATP and Paris airports…
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3. Simplified maintenance for zones difficult to get to
The maintenance of sloping or over-wooded land with “traditional” methods quickly becomes expensive… and exhausting! Herbivores do cost money but they do not find getting between trees difficult and are happy to graze on steep slopes. Ecological grazing is a very practical solution for green spaces where access is difficult!
4. An ideal technique for sensitive natural areas…
Herbivores make it possible to preserve the natural heritage of some sites and sensitive natural areas. For example, sheep were moved into the Alpilles Regional Nature Park in the Bouches-du-Rhône in southern France to preserve the heritage while respecting Park rules, regulations and certification.
5. A communication opportunity
Ecological grazing is an important factor in education. It gives urbanites (inhabitants or tourists), more accustomed to rats, to an opportunity to meet other animals and get near them… Ecological grazing has a positive impact on the relationship between Man and animals. It is an approach to an increasingly necessary education about the environment. And install animals in a green space encourages relationships between people too!
6. You can adopt a wide variety of animals
Sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, horses are all possibilities depending on the size of the park! Any herbivore will do. You can choose something ordinary – or something unusual that needs preserving – Camargue ponies, for example!
Check our ultimate guide about designing and maintaining public green spaces!
Environmentally-friendly, educational, catalyst of sociability, economically viable… Besides being highly practical for the maintenance of green spaces, ecological grazing has all the essentials needed for sustainable development.
So do you still need convincing? Our thanks to Philippe Feugère for answering our questions.
© Photo credit: Pexels / Skitterphoto