Boar put to work as ecological engineers

The charity Trees for Life have undertaken a project to restore native woodland on their Scottish Dundreggan Estate in Inverness-shire.  The birch/juniper wood is being smothered by impenetrable, towering bracken, severely reducing biodiversity and very difficult to control as its fronds are toxic for most animals.  Here’s where the wild boar step in: by digging up and eating the roots they can halt the bracken’s relentless spread. They will also be creating seed-beds for a variety of species by ploughing up the soil. Although boar were originally part of Britain’s ecosystem, before being hunted to extinction in the 13th century, this is not a reintroduction programme and they will be controlled within a 30-acre site enclosed by a special boar-proof fence.  BBC

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