Fred Provenza is professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. He is a pioneer in understanding foraging behavior and how behavior links soils and plants with herbivores and humans.
For 40 years, Fred’s team did research that laid the foundation for behavior-based management of livestock and wildlife. That work has been an inspiration to researchers in diverse disciplines, including animal behavior and welfare, wildlife damage science and management, veterinary science, ruminant and human nutrition, chemical ecology, plant ecology and horticulture, landscape restoration ecology, and pasture and rangeland science and management.
These efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents. That consortium, known as BEHAVE, is committed to integrating behavioral principles with local knowledge to enhance environmental, economic and cultural values of rural and urban communities. They seek to inspire and enable people to understand and use knowledge of behavior to create relationships that reconcile differences of opinion about how to manage landscapes. Everyone is a student attempting to understand behavior at all levels from epigenomes to landscapes. Once people grasp behavioral principles, they can create practices that are innovative, inclusive, and self-transforming. Appreciating and embracing the importance and inevitability of transformation alters peoples’ philosophies and practices from rigid, unyielding, and unenjoyable to fluid, malleable, and invigorating.
Along with colleagues, he has authored over 250 publications in scientific journals and books. He has been an invited speaker at over 400 conferences. His first book was Foraging Behavior: Managing to Survive in a World of Change. His latest book, co-authored with Michel Meuret, is The Art & Science of Shepherding: Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders. He is currently working on a book titled Dining on Earth: A Visitor’s Reflections, which will be published in 2018.
The many awards he received for research, teaching, and mentoring are the creativity that flowed from warm professional and personal relationships with over 75 graduate students, post-doctoral students, visiting scientists, and colleagues during the past 40 years.