Reindeer husbandry, societal infrastructure, and climate sensitive infections: Are there linkages?

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.11 Reindeer & caribou in the Arctic system: Interactions between environmental, social and biophysical processes
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Grete Hovelsrud (Nord University, Norway), Camilla Risvoll (Nordland Research Institute, Norway)
Abstract text

As the climate changes, vegetation and animals respond by moving northward and to higher elevations. This shift leads to the introduction of new species and to different co-existence of species in new places. Climate change is already having an impact on the geographical distribution and epidemiology of infections such as zoonoses – infections that are transmitted between animals and humans, and that can likely be labelled climate sensitive infections - CSIs. Many northern societies depend on animal husbandry, such as reindeer herding and sheep farming for their livelihoods. In the ongoing Nordic Centre of Excellence, CLINF: Climate-change effects on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the impacts on Northern societies, we are studying how the spread of climate sensitive infections (CSIs) will affect societal and individual well-being, ontological security, and adaptive capacity in animal husbandry in the north. We expect to see an increase in CSIs in parallel with increasing temperatures, which in turn will have consequences for livelihoods, socio-economic conditions, values, culture, identity and worldviews. Societal infrastructure is expected to influence the spreading of such CSIs in the northern region. This paper outlines five categories of societal infrastructure, including EU policy and institutional agreements that intersect with five societal processes such as mobility and kinship. Together these are being investigated for their potential impacts on spreading or reducing CSIs in reindeer husbandry. An initial analysis of the available data reveals a range of cascading effects and complex interactions between societal infrastructure, social organization, and current adaptation strategies to multiple stressors. 

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