D4 Julkaistu kehittämis- tai tutkimusraportti taikka -selvitys
Reindeer husbandry under global change in the tundra region of Northern Fennoscandia

Julkaisun tekijät: Käyhkö Jukka, Horstkotte Tim, Aikio Antti, Forbes Bruce, Jepsen Jane, Johansen Bernt, Kivinen Sonja, Oksanen Lauri, Olofsson Johan, Utsi Tove, Vehmas Jarmo
Kustantaja: University of Turku
Paikka: Turku
Julkaisuvuosi: 2017
Sarjan nimi: Turun yliopiston maantieteen ja geologian laitoksen julkaisuja
Numero sarjassa: 1
ISBN: 978-951-29-6702-5
eISBN: 978-951-29-6703-2
ISSN: 2489-2319


The Nordic Centre of
Excellence (NCoE) TUNDRA (“How to
preserve the tundra in a changing climate”)
has been a 5-year project (2011–15)
within the Top-Level Research Initiative (TRI) by NordForsk. This report
combines the key results and a synthesis of the NCoE TUNDRA with earlier
research to provide a comprehensive picture of the interplay between the tundra
ecosystem, climate change and reindeer husbandry to relevant stakeholders.

Most recent climate
projections suggest that by the 2070s, temperature conditions that are warm
enough for tree growth (> 10 °C average temperature during summer months)
will cover almost all of northern Fennoscandia, excluding only the highest-altitude
areas of the Scandinavian mountains. A warming climate will promote growth of
shrubs and trees, a process that decreases the area of the tundra biome
remarkably. The projected increase in spring temperatures will enhance snow
melting. Together with the expansion and densification of shrub vegetation,
this can significantly decrease surface reflectance (albedo), and have an amplifying
feedback on global climate warming. Therefore, hindering shrub expansion and preserving
the circumpolar high albedo tundra biome would serve as climate change mitigation.

Herbivores (animals
feeding on plants) have a strong impact on vegetation communities. The most
important herbivores in Northern Fennoscandia include large mammals (reindeer),
small mammals (rodents), and insects (geometrid moths). Their exact effect,
however, varies between the animal groups and their population dynamics,
seasons, weather conditions, and vegetation communities, and is dependent also
on the combined impact of these animal groups. Reindeer grazing in particular has
the potential to counter-impact the climate-induced shrubification. The maximum
grazing impact on woody plants is obtained if reindeer are present in a region
during early growing season in June and early July. In addition, grazing has an
impact on plant biodiversity. By preventing the invasion of trees, tall shrubs
and forbs, reindeer maintain the openness of the tundra, which is a
precondition for the survival of many small-sized arctic plant species. Although
grazing may disturb also these plant species, the net impact of intense summer
grazing can be positive at the population level.

From a
transdisciplinary perspective, tundra is not only a biome, but also a
social-ecological system (SES) incorporating humans and their activities,
including reindeer husbandry. Decision-making involves various aspects of this
complex social-ecological system and is, therefore, always a compromise and a
matter of values and opinions. Reindeer husbandry exhibits major legal and
administrative differences in local, regional, and state governance between
Finland, Norway and Sweden. Anticipated changes in climate and within the
societies require reindeer husbandry to adapt to these transformations. Future
is not pre-determined but unveils itself as a chain of decisions and actions.
Therefore, various scenarios of the future of the social-ecological system in
Northern Fennoscandia – including reindeer husbandry – can be foresighted
depending on the circumstances, decisions and actions.

Current tensions between stakeholders –
including reindeer herders, other land users, Sámi and non-Sámi individuals,
and the governance system – stem from different values regarding ecological,
cultural, social, and economic matters. These tensions may inhibit fruitful
discussion and feasible decisions, and may lead to a future that is undesirable
for many, if not all parties. At present, there is too little interaction, and
inadequate, unequal discussion between the stakeholders. From the herders’
perspective, unclear legislation and lack of self-determination are considered
as threats for the livelihood. To improve the quality of decision making, planning
and actions regarding future land use and livelihoods should be co-designed by
different stakeholders. To overcome the historical apprehension between the
parties, a neutral boundary organisation might serve as an appreciated

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Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 22:20