Silvopastoral Management in Post-fire Restoration

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2024: $74,995.00
Projected End Date: 04/01/2027
Grant Recipient: UC Cooperative Extension
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Ricky Satomi
UC Cooperative Extension


  • Additional Plants: trees
  • Animals: goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: grazing management
  • Crop Production: forestry, silvopasture

    Proposal abstract:

    Over the past decade, the State of California has invested
    significant effort to use prescribed grazing as a forest
    management tool.  Despite this, limited research exists on
    the effectiveness of small ruminant grazing in forested
    ecosystems.  In 2022, the Mosquito Fire burned a significant
    portion of Blodgett Forest, creating a unique opportunity to
    experimentally apply goat and sheep herbivory towards wildfire

    Traditional post-fire restoration relies on re-establishing
    conifer crops as quickly as possible – typically through site
    preparation with chemical control.  This proposal will apply
    sheep, goat, and herbicide treatments across a randomized block
    design to assess small ruminant grazing effectiveness site
    preparation.  Furthermore, this proposal will build on
    current efforts by two of the producers (NM Ranch and Blodgett
    Forest) evaluating nutritional value and herd behavior in
    forests. This proposal differs from existing efforts by
    strategically timing the grazing application to an earlier phase
    of shrub development, thereby minimizing root establishment as
    compared with more conventional approach of targeting browse once
    woody fuels are established.

    Results will identify the potential for small ruminant grazing
    during post-disturbance restoration.  It will also help
    provide guidance for policy makers, land managers, property
    owners, and practitioners on best management practices (BMPs)
    relative to targeted grazing in forestlands.  

    Publications –

    • Factsheets on how to use small ruminant grazing in post-fire
      site preparation
    • Guide on avoided plants/weeds in mid-elevation mixed conifer
    • Cost Study comparing targeted grazing to herbicide use.

    Extension –

    • Field Trips, landowner training, and producer workshops
      (livestock and forestry)

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Evaluate feasibility and effectiveness of small ruminant
      grazing to manage shrub competition in post-wildfire
    • Evaluate potential for small ruminant silvopastoralism in
      forested environments with an emphasis on animal nutrition and
      herd management.
    • Evaluate appropriate interval to re-introduce livestock
    • Extend findings through a multi-faceted outreach initiative.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.