France: Sheep could soon replace lawnmowers in Paris' parks
According to the EcoTerra organization, which already operates many schemes using sheep, goats and cows in a number of departments (counties) close the French capital, using animals rather than mechanical means for park maintenance has a whole range of advantages, including:
• Maintaining biodiversity
• Keeping ground weed free
• Eliminates entirely the cost of processing waste clippings
• Fertilises the soil naturally
• Reduces a town or city’s carbon footprint
• Creates a pleasant relaxing environment
• Puts in place biological corridors for smaller animals and insects to thrive
• Gives open spaces a social dimension
Use of sheep instead of lawnmowers also has the benefits of noise reduction, reducing fuel costs and eliminating pesticide use.
Initial trials in the Bois de Vincennes
The objective of the Paris trial will be to assess whether this type of ecological management of green spaces is feasible in a densely populated area such as central Paris. The ‘Ouessant’ breed of sheep has been selected for the Paris experiment, small, hardy, easily handled sheep. The sheep will graze in parts of the Bois de Vincennes during trial grazing periods from April through to October when the health of the flock will be monitored.