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Cover of The Art & Science of Shepherding. © ACRES USA

The Art & Science of Shepherding

This book is far from a nostalgic glimpse into a romanticized lifestyle that appears “old-fashioned” to most people other than the herders themselves. 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 09/11/2015
Published on 03/26/2014

This book hopes to raise awareness of what is possible if people rely less on fences and grazing systems and more on rekindling our relationships with livestock and landscapes, linking soil and plants with herbivores and human beings. It sets out to underscore the idea that rigorous research in partnership with the gathering of local knowledge - researchers working together with herders - can lead to better results for understanding landscapes and our relationships with them than can either academic science or practice in isolation.

Thirty-three authors

Thirty-three authors of various origins and experiences contributed to this 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

Michel Meuret, Ph.D. & Fred Provenza, Ph.D., editors


Michel Meuret
Director of Research
INRA - Montpellier Research Centre
+33 4 67 59 39 92

> see Publisher's website - ACRES USA