La culture pastorale - Les régions pastorales françaises

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Title: La culture pastorale - Les régions pastorales françaises
Author: Hulin, Victor
Abstract: PASTORAL CULTIVATION - FRENCH PASTORAL REGIONS - We shall study successively :A) Where the pastoral regions are found.B) The soil, climate and vegetation of these regions.A) We find summer pastures, pasturages and grass-lands inall parts of the mountain, but chiefly in the higher regions. Allthe alpine floor is pastoral by reason of its natural destination(pastoral vocation). Besides that, man has cleared certain partsof the subalpine floor and even of the mountain floor in orderto make pasture — and grass-lands of them.These lands, wrested from the forest are also pastoral regionsfrom our point of view, not by their natural conditions, butby reason of their economic destination. If they play their partproperly and if their upkeep does not endanger the stabilityand prosperity of the mountain, we should conserve them.B) The soil of the pasture lands and summer pastures is theresult of the breaking-up of the rocks which make up our Frenchmountains. Its relief is according to the greater or lesser solidityof the rocks and their tectonic disposition. Its richnessdepends on the kind of rock (granite, marl, lime-stone, basalt,etc...).It is therefore necessary to study geology in order to have aclear idea of the value of the pastures. This study is long andcomplicated; we will sum it up by saying that the geologicalstrata which include hard or soft lime-stones and marls in hori.zontal or nearly horizontal strata will make excellent pasturelands,either for cows (lias), or for sheep (plateaus "urgoniens"). Granite and gneiss are generally covered with scanty grass,with little varying floral vegetation.The climate of the pastoral regions is to be considered aboveall from the point of view of atmospheric precipitations. Thetotal annual rain-fall would always be sufficient to assure a goodgrowth of grass, if the seasonal division of rain did not varyconsiderably according to whether one is in the mediterraneanregion (dry Alps, Eastern Pyrenees), or in the rest of France(moist Alps, remainder of the Pyrenees, Massif Central, Jura,Vosges).The vegetation can be considered either from the botanicalpoint of view or from the utilitarian one. From the botanicalpoint of view, it is not what it ought normally to be. The floralcomposition of the grass is modified all the time by the actionof live-stock (more or less intensive pasturage), of man (irrigation,laying-down of manure), of running water, etc... Fromthe utilitarian point of view we divide the plants of the pastoralregion into :A) Plants requiring attention and propagation; these arethe plants fit for fodder.B) Plants to be weeded-out as much as possible; these arethe rest which can either be toxic, parasitical, or merely anobstruction.Among the plants fit for fodder there are distinctions to bemade; some are ubiquists and easy to keep up; others on thecontrary have clear needs with regard to altitude and one mustlearn to know them.A short list of these different kinds of plants ends the study.It includes only the best-known varieties; it must be completedand modified for each pastoral region. This will be the aim ofthe detailed monographs whose appearance we greatly desire.
Publisher: ENEF, Ecole nationale des eaux et forêts, Nancy (FRA)
Date: 1931

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