What really matters in herding? Herders’ perceptions on the relative importance of drivers in the reindeer management system in Finland

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.11 Reindeer & caribou in the Arctic system: Interactions between environmental, social and biophysical processes
Datetime Sep 06, 2018 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Sirpa Rasmus
Author(s) Sirpa Rasmus (University of Lapland, Arctic Centre, Finland), Minna Turunen (University of Lapland, Arctic Centre, Finland), Mia Landauer (University of Lapland, Arctic Centre, Finland), Henri Wallen (University of Lapland, Arctic Centre, Finland), Sauli Laaksonen (University of Helsinki, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Finland)
Abstract text

Reindeer management is one of the most traditional livelihoods in northern Finland. In globalizing north, it shares the same operational space with several other land users. Decrease and deterioration of pastures has contributed to changing herding practices during the past decades, like intensive winter feeding in some parts of the area. Changing climate sets additional challenges. Drivers of change in the reindeer management system in Finland are rather well-known. However, research is lacking on the relative importance of the drivers and their cumulative impacts. We present a recent interview material from 52 herding districts which allows discussing the herders’ perceptions on the relative importance and spatial differences of drivers related to herding practices, land use and climate and pastures. There was a strong agreement on harmfulness of certain factors (like impact of predators) or benefits of others (like abundance of natural fodder). Factors like peat extraction or mining were considered important locally. Spatial patterns of other activities within the reindeer management area can explain the spatial differences. Fragmentation of the pastures caused by competing land use causes a persistent pressure on reindeer management, while detrimental weather events are more stochastic. Cumulative impacts of other than climatic drivers limit adaptation to climate change. Herders had somewhat polarized views about winter feeding: only few perceived it neutrally. Interestingly, utilization of intensive winter feeding seemed to affect perceptions on the relative importance of other drivers also. Effective and well-planned supplementary feeding practices may increase coping capacity as a whole.

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