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A herder is a pastoral worker responsible for the care and management of a herd or flock of domestic animals, usually on open pasture. It is particularly associated with nomadic or transhumant management of stock, or with common land grazing. The work is often done either on foot or mounted.
There are numerous regional types of herder, many with a specific name; these include the stockman of Australia, the buttero, campino, csikós, gardian and gulyás in Europe, the buckaroo, charro, cowboy and vaquero in North America, and the gaucho, huaso, llanero, morochuco and qorilazo of South America.
Tibetan herding communities living in the Tibetan Plateau in the Sichuan Province of southwest China continued to graze herds on common lands even after the 1982 Household responsibility system. Several reasons have been given for the endurance of the traditional pastoral lifestyle:
- complex topography prevents the division of common grazing lands among individual households
- yaks require free grazing and become ill in fenced pasture
- rotation of grazing spots
Grassland degradation has been an issue. Herding communities and their leaders have taken steps to reach a consensus about sustainable grazing practices. These include developing the community political organization to enforce commitments to seasonal rotational grazing.
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- Brooks, Alexandra (2003-06-19). "26 farm workers to receive long service awards". FarmingUK. The Breezi Publishing Company Ltd. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
- Wei, Han; Ling, Su. "Supporting Collective Action through Community Development Funds: An Institutional Innovation for Herder Poverty Reduction in Sichuan, China" (PDF).