Do Tree-Climbing Goats Help Plant New Trees?

Do trees grow from seeds that goats eat and later expel?

That is a question that has long bedeviled ecologists.

Let's say it's a small seed. The goat will swallow it, poop it out and a tree could sprout.

But what if it's a sizable seed? It probably wouldn't make it through the goat's digestive tract intact. And so ... no tree.

Unless ... the goat spit out the seed instead of pooping it out.

A new study probes the question of excretion vs. expectorate. The answer has important consequences for the birth of baby trees — in particular, the gnarled argan tree of Morocco.

We were interested in this study for two reasons. First, our blog is, after all, called Goats and Soda. (Here's why.) And second, argan trees are an important part of the economy in this lower-middle income country. They bear fruit. And the seeds of the fruit are valuable — they can be pressed to yield argan oil, valued in beauty treatments and foodie circles. By some reports, argan oil exports bring in $6.5 million.

Kristof Arndt


Like what you read? Donate now and help DRP implement more projects that help communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

© 2017 by Developing Radio Partners.