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An age-old strategy has been revived to tackle the devastating effects of drought and heatwaves.

The four-legged brigade – made up of 290 sheep and goats – has just one task: to munch on as much vegetation as possible.

Their arrival turned Barcelona into one of the latest places to embrace an age-old strategy that’s being revived as officials around the world face off against a rise in extreme wildfires.

The idea is simple: wildfire-prone areas are handed over to grazing animals, who chomp and trample over dry vegetation that could otherwise accumulate as fuel for fires. Whether the animals are semi-wild or overseen by a shepherd who is usually compensated for their efforts, a job well done usually leaves behind a landscape dotted with open spaces that can act as firebreaks.

The grazing has brought about other benefits: the animals carry seeds and fertilise as they move through the terrain and their relatively indiscriminate feeding habits nurture biodiversity by curtailing the competitive advantage of some plants.

Source: The Guardian