The Pursuit of Population Collapses: Long-Term Dynamics of Semi-Domestic Reindeer in Sweden
Spatiotemporal reindeer population fluctuations are a result of multiple factors that working in concert affecting the structure and functioning of many Arctic and Sub-Arctic ecosystems. We investigated the population dynamics of Swedish semi-domestic reindeer from 1945 to 2012 at the reindeer herding district-level (Sameby) to identify possible population collapses or declines. We also explored spatial trends and synchrony in population dynamics across latitudinal-longitude gradients for two distinct periods: 1945–1965 and 1995–2012 but found no evidence of large-scale reindeer population declines and no visible synchrony across adjacent populations. Our findings were unexpected as both reindeer populations and the pastoral lifestyle face increased habitat loss, predation, fragmentation and climate change.