Goat And Ecology

Goat and Ecology

Man, Animal and Nature are in symbiotic relationship for their survival and sustenance .The balance maintained among the three for several millennia has been disturbed by over exploitation of natural resources for meeting the demands of increasing population of men and animals .The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that India with about 2.30% of land area of the world is maintaining nearly 16.55 of the world’s human population and about 20.00% of the livestock .The livestock in general and the goats in particular have been held responsible by the foresters and environmentalists for causing ecological degradation and desertification in Asia continent .There has been a lot of controversy over the role of goats in ecological degradation and in desertification especially in India. Of the domesticated animals, no animal has suffered from so much abuse as the goat due to this rather wrong conception.

Two conflicting views prevail on the goat’s role in land use (1) .The goat is the major caused of deforestations ,rangeland destruction and soil erosion ,and as such, its propagation should be checked ,and (2) Goat acts as regenerator of vegetating through dispersal of seeds in its droppings and vegetative propagation through browsing .It is undoubtedly true that an uncontrolled population of goats roaming in open can be extremely harmful to the growth and development of vegetation .But it is just as true that any over grazing by any other ruminant will have similar consequence .The man to land ratio is fast declining .The livestock population is increasing due to low farm incomes from marginalizing of land holdings and increased dependence on livestock ,leading to over exploitation of the shrinking grazing land. In addition, indiscriminate felling of trees and deforestation removal of shrubs bushes and roots for fuel purpose use of mechanical powers for cultivation and continuous neglect of the grazing land are the real reasons causing damage to the ecology. Sheep because of their bifid upper lip are able to graze closer to the ground than goats and in doing so in dry weather and on loose soils frequency uproot the small grass species and thereby permanently damage the soil. It was found at CSWRI Avikanagar that the goats spend more that 90% time on browsing and hardly graze for 10% time on surface vegetation .Goats have been found to defoliate smallest branches of trees without damaging the twig in behaviors studies at CAZRI ,Jodhpur .Their browsing habit tends to reclaim saline soils by consuming salt- laden leaves of the range plants and contribute ferity to soil by even distribution of essential manure on the lands they graze. Read more