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Culture, Post cards

13 – The Forest in Nivernais – Cattle grazing in woods – Sheep

16 August 2018

The thirteenth postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais” depicts a shepherd minding his flock grazing in the forest of Bertranges.

The thirteenth postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais” depicts a shepherd minding his flock grazing in the forest of Bertranges.

Grazing in the forest is part of a broader set of using rights in forests dating back to the Middle Ages. Those rights were given to village communities for their personal and family use (gathering, hunting, firewood…).

Today, Forest Code specifies: “Regardless of age and types of trees, holders of using right can only use their rights of grazing in forest on lands set by the ONF as defensible space”. Furthermore, unless special permission, it is now forbidden for using right holders to drive sheep or goat in State forests. As a matter of fact, goat cause significant damage to tree barks.

Achille Millien complements the postcard with verses of poetry about a shepherd who also poaches nests: “Durant que le troupeau broute dans la clairière, / Le berger, ravageur de nids, repasse en soi / Tous ceux qu’il détruisit à la saison dernière / Et pense faire mieux encor – malgré la loi.”

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