Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Border Collies Work to Reseed a Forest Burned by Wildfires in Chile

Animals

By Dan Nosowitz

In January of 2017, the worst wildfires in Chile's history rampaged through over a million acres of land, destroying homes and leaving at least 11 dead. One of the many recovery solutions, as reported by Mother Nature News, is unexpected—and very cute.


Enter dog trainer Francisca Torres and three border collies, who took to the scorched forest after the fires were extinguished. Each dog wore a specially designed pouch filled with native seeds; as the dogs happily sprint through the forest, the seeds scatter from the pouches.

Border collies are work dogs. They're by far the most popular choice for herders, as their work ethic, herding instinct and intellect—they're routinely listed as the most intelligent breed of dog—make them ideal for farm work. These dogs can cover up to 18 miles each day, far more than a human could, and what could be more fun for a dog than being rewarded for sprinting through a gigantic forest?

Seeding after a fire, interestingly, is a widespread practice that is not without controversy. Fires are an essential part of the life cycle of many forests, with an established pattern of recovery: A certain type of fire might encourage a certain type of seedling, which could be eaten by a certain animal, which could attract other animals, and the entire system comes back online.

And yet, millions of dollars is spent on post-fire seeding each year, with the goal being to encourage rapid growth, box out invasive or non-native plants, and reduce the chances of erosion while the forest gets back on its feet. But recent research indicates that post-fire seeding is not necessarily all that effective: a review from the U.S. Forest Service says, "According to the literature review and monitoring data, seeding is not a reliably effective post-fire treatment for short-term soil protection." (To note: some of the studies reviewed in that paper included non-native seed, which obviously is a bad idea.)

In any case, post-fire seeding with exclusively native plants is not widely controversial. You know what else isn't controversial? Very good dogs running freely around a forest.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The CDC has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guido Mieth / Moment / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
A California newt (Taricha torosa) from Napa County, California, USA. Connor Long / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.

Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images

Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
A customer packs groceries in reusable bags at a NYC supermarket on March 1, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

Read More Show Less
Ingredients are displayed for the Old School Pinto Beans from the Decolonize Your Diet cookbook by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Melissa Renwick / Toronto Star via Getty Images

By Molly Matthews Multedo

Livestock farming contributes to global warming, so eating less meat can be better for the climate.

Read More Show Less