Environmental Planning • Habitat Restoration • Biological Resources • Vegetation Management • Regulatory Compliance • Goat Grazing
10 Aug 2022

Forest Mastication is an Eco-Friendly Method of Mulching

Sage has recently incorporated the use of forest mastication equipment in its fire fuel modification projects in wildland/urban interface settings. In early, August we hosted a working demonstration for clients, fire inspectors and media. This client's site had a large amount of acacia dealbata (Green Wattle) to be removed. Acacia is an extremely flameable species of shrub/tree that is difficult to eradicate and a species of concern by fire inspectors.

Traditional treatment is by mechanical clearing (with all biomass transported to the landfill); the use of herbicide to control re-sprouting and stump grinding. The forest mastication equipment treats woody material by mulching or chipping to a small very size and working it into the soil to become a source of nutrition. This approach is more desirable than the common practice of leaving and spreading large mulch on the site while contributing to habitat restoration and forest health.

What is forest mastication? Read article

Mastication is a fuel reduction treatment method used in forestry management to reduce wildfire risk, to reduce fuel loadings by returning the forest to natural conditions. Masticating fuels, or mulching the forest, involves the reduction of vegetation into small chunks and is one of the many ways overstocked forest stands are thinned. The benefits include opening the canopy and forest floor which provides the remaining trees access to more nutrients, sunlight and water. When trees are crowded together, they are in competition for sunlight and water. As a result they tend to be less healthy. Mastication can assist in removing some trees in the early stages, to allow the remaining trees to grow faster, stronger and larger. Over the past decade, Forest mastication methods have dramatically reduced wildfire hazards and greatly improved forest health.

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01 Aug 2022
Cal-IPC Best Management Practices for Non Chemical Weed Control

Cal-IPC Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control

Best Practices Manual Now Includes Chapter on Prescribed Grazing

This manual, published by the California Invasive Plant Council, provides comprehensive descriptions of 21 commonly used non-chemical weed control techniques and of biological control agents for 18 weed species/species groups that will help practitioners treat weeds more effectively.

Authors of each chapter have compiled research and on-the-ground knowledge of subject experts on tools and methods of application, as well as on efficacy of techniques under various environmental conditions and across different classes of invasive plants. Environmental, cultural, and human safety risks are also highlighted to help support safe and effective use of techniques. This manual is designed to be a go-to resource for practitioners that are either complementing their weed control work with non-chemical techniques or are exclusively restricted to not using herbicides. Individual BMPs will be incorporated into an online decision support tool still in development.

Available for download. Link Here.

Cal-IPC received IPM Innovation Award

Cal-IPC received an Innovation Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) for its 2021 work in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The award was presented for its work developing Best ManagementPractices (BMPs) for Non-Chemical Weed Control and building the WeedCUT online decision-support tool in partnership with the University of California’s IPM program. These resources are designed to guide land managers in selecting the best management approaches for their situation when herbicides are not an option. DPR has also provided funding for a follow-up project that will develop BMPs for chemical methods of invasive plant control and integrate those methods into WeedCUT.


03 Oct 2019
Seed viability in goat droppings

Seed Viability in Goat Droppings?

Sage Environmental Group is often asked, "are the weed seeds viable after they pass through the goat's digestive system?" "Aren't they just eliminating and spreading weed seeds throughout the grazing site thus defeating the purpose of grazing?"

We determined to conduct our own germination test to answer that question. Our herd of goats are an important part of our weed abatement approach.

We believe the weed seeds are destroyed sufficiently. A goat chews weed seeds then passes them through four stomachs in the digestion process.

Alissa Cope, Principal Restoration Ecologist, prepared and monitored three test samples as depicted in the photo.

First, she planted new native seeds, purchased from a grower, in new sterile soil. This served as the control to demonstrate that the seeds were viable. These seeds successfully sprouted.

Second, she planted the native seeds in sterile soil and added goat droppings. These native seeds also successfully sprouted. No weed seeds sprouted.

Third, she added goat droppings to the sterile soil, but did not include native seed. This was the determining step. Nothing grew from the goat droppings.

Conclusion, seeds are not viable once they have passed through the goat's digestive system.

Future Research: Sage is recruiting university students who are interested in participating in research. We plan to conduct a series of similar tests utilizing soil from a variety of grazing sites. If you are interested in joining this research project, get in touch.