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Art&Science of Shepherding Cover. © Acres USA

The Art & Science of Shepherding. Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders

A book edited by Michel Meuret and Fred Provenza. This comprehensive multi-authored work takes an in-depth look at how shepherds overcome the environmental and social challenges they face today in an industrialized country like France.

Updated on 03/29/2014
Published on 03/28/2014

Far from a nostalgic glimpse into a romanticized lifestyle, this book teaches how this sophisticated art and set of tangible skills has application in modern, North American range/livestock management. Through academic study and analysis and in-depth interviews with master shepherds readers will be amazed by the deep connection between the nutritional need for animals to feed, the powers of observation used by the shepherds to effectively care for and manage large herds, and how the traditional moving of the animals is more fitting to many landscapes than even the most progressive rotational grazing and moveable fencing systems.

The authors

 Thirty-three authors of various origins and experiences contributed to the book: eleven salaried herders or farmer-herders; ten researchers; five pastoral engineers; five training officers in herding schools; and two managers of natural areas.


Introduction: Why Would Anyone Read a Book about the Art and Science of Shepherding in France

Shepherds in France: A Know-How to be Revalorized

  • The Rangelands of Southern France: Two Centuries of Radical Change
  • Shepherding in France Today: An Overview

Herding Practices by Shepherds: Scientific Explorations

  • Shepherding on a Farm with Diverse Pastures: A First Insight
  • Taking Advantage of an Experienced Herder’s Knowledge to Design Summer Range Management Tools
  • Origins and Diversity of Flock Patterns in Summer Range Shepherding
  • Herding Sheep on the Windy Steppe of Crau

Amazing Appetite of Herded Animals

  • How to Stimulate Animals’ Appetites: Shepherd and Goatherder Discussion
  • Menu Model: The Herder as a Restaurant Chef

Shepherds and Nature Conservation

  • Grazing with Herders on Natural Area Conservancy Lands
  • When a Shepherd and Natural Area Manager Work Together
  • Shepherding Practices in the Alps Convulsed by the Return of Wolves as a Protected Species

Herding Schools

  • Herding Schools: Upgrading Herding as a Skilled Occupation
  • The Pyrenees Mountain Transhumant Sheep/Cow Herder Training Program

Herding Occupation as Seen from Inside

  • On Being a Hired Herder in the Alps
  • An Evening Spent Discussing Our Profession

The editors

Michel Meuret: Director of Research at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) - UMR 0868 Selmet - 2 Place Pierre Viala, Bat 22 - 34060 Montpellier cedex 1, France

Fred Provenza: Professor Emeritus, Dept. Wildland Resources, Utah State University - Logan, UT 84322-5230, USA

The Art & Science of Shepherding

Michel Meuret & Fred Provenza (Eds), 2014. The Art & Science of Shepherding. Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders. Translated by Bruce Inksetter & Melanie Guedenet. Acres USA, 434 p.

Publisher's Website http://www.acresusa.com/the-art-science-of-shepherding