How a flock of sheep protects one B.C. First Nation’s land

The Saulteau First Nation teamed up with Australian and French shepherds to replace toxic chemical sprays with the services of sheep. Photo by Emilee Gilpin

Did you know sheep can protect vulnerable tree seedlings better than chemical sprays?

The Saulteau First Nation sure does. Last year, the B.C. band invested in a herd of sheep and teamed up with two shepherds experienced in sheep veg-management to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in their territory.

Vegetation management is an important reforestation activity in that it involves preventing wild plants from stealing sunlight needed by young tree seedlings. The seedlings are planted in most new forest sites established in areas that have been logged or affected by wildfire, insects and disease. Toxic chemical sprays are one form of vegetation management, but there are non-chemical options available and growing in B.C.

The Saulteau First Nation invested in a non-chemical vegetation management plan that uses flocks of sheep, rather than toxic chemicals to protect young tree seedlings planted by forestry companies in their region. #FirstNationsForward

Sheep-based vegetation management is one of many positive ways their people resist the violent implications of oil and gas, mining and forestry companies. The Saulteau First Nation is located in the heart of the Peace River Region in northeastern B.C., also known as “the industrial zone,” Juritha Owens told me during an interview in her home. MORE

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