Goats helping keep invasive plants in check in forest area

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In this Sept. 8, 2019, photo, goats walk by a car on a road near Kato Meria village, on Samothraki island, northeastern Greece. Goat herding is a way of life on Samothraki, a hard-to-reach Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea, but experts and locals are working together to control the animal population that has left its mountains barren and islanders under the threat of mudslides. (AP Photo/Iliana Mier)

ELK CREEK, Mo. (AP) – Invasive plants can turn a grassy habitat for turkeys and quail into an overgrown thicket, so officials with the Mark Twain National Forest have turned to a decidedly low-tech way to manage them – goats.

Brian Davidson, who manages the botany and invasive species program at the forest, told KCUR that plants such as blackberries and kudzu compete for nutrients with grassy habitat, and push out desirable native species.

But removing the invasive plants can be expensive, so the forest has contracted with a southern Missouri couple who own 1,500 Spanish goats.

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