Shared experiences of supplementary feeding in reindeer husbandry – a collaborative approach across Fennoscandia

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.11 Reindeer & caribou in the Arctic system: Interactions between environmental, social and biophysical processes
Datetime Sep 05, 2018 04:45 PM - 05:00 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Élise Lépy
Author(s) Élise Lépy (University of Oulu, Finland), Camilla Risvoll (Nordland Research Institute, Norway), Tim Horstkotte (Umeå University, Sweden), Svein Morten Eilertsen (Nordland Research Institute, Norway), Mia Landauer (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland), Simo Sarkki (University of Oulu, Finland), Hannu I. Heikkinen (University of Oulu, Finland), Grete Hovelsrud (Nordland Research Institute, Norway)
Abstract text

Introduction. Supplementary feeding of reindeer has become a more common necessity across Fennoscandia to cope with unfavorable grazing conditions. The application of and experience with supplementary feeding varies considerably in the Fennoscandian reindeer husbandry area: while already practiced for several decades in southern reindeer areas of Finland, supplementary feeding is not yet as common in Northern Sweden and Norway.


Methods. We gathered 24 reindeer herders and 20 researchers from Norway, Sweden and Finland in a two-day workshop in Kiruna in March 2018. The workshop focused on the adaptations and decisions of reindeer herders regarding supplementary feeding, including cultural, environmental, economic and health concerns. Reindeer herders’ experiences were first shared within group work guided by open questions and reindeer herders’ own priorities. Subsequently, the topics were discussed involving all participants. Diagrams visualizing challenges and opportunities of supplementary feeding were used to facilitate the discussion across countries and husbandry styles.


Results. Our results highlight the relevance of sharing experiences about similarities and differences in the application of supplementary feeding between herders within and across countries. The use of supplementary feeding is burdened with numerous difficult choices of feed type, increased work and financial challenges, health risks as well as environmental, reindeer behavioural and cultural concerns. Though our initiative facilitated the exchange of these experiences between herders, more interaction between countries will be necessary in the future to enable the exchange of detailed knowledge and experiences of the complexities and challenges of supplementary feeding.

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