Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 1691–1701 | Cite as

Defining a mountain landscape characterized by grazing using actor perception, governmental strategy, and environmental monitoring data

  • Wiebke NeumannEmail author
  • Camilla Sandström
  • Lina Holmgren
  • Göran Ericsson
Open Access


In multi-functional mountainous landscapes worldwide, conservation of natural values is a major task. Here, pro-active policies can be a way forward. National Environmental Quality Objectives (EQO) to solve environmental problems for future generations, however, often wrestle with being too visionary and lacking specificity, which complicates their implementation. The EQO “A Magnificent Mountain Landscape” that has been adopted by the Swedish Parliament in 1999 to preserve the pristine mountain environment in Sweden, experiences all these flaws. To aid its implementation, we studied the conditions and processes needed to define, to evaluate, and to preserve its goals across the Swedish mountain chain, using one of its milestone targets (a landscape characterized by grazing) as a study system. Applying qualitative and quantitative methods, we analyzed three types of data: 1) referral responses to the governmental strategy document, 2) interviews with relevant actors, and 3) environmental monitoring data (reindeer position data). Nationally, our results suggest a need for geographical differentiation to match regional/local conditions. Regionally, difference in both perception and definition of the milestone target among the actors hinders the formulation, monitoring, and evaluation of a common goal. Next to a culture-nature divide, we found that a “within as a user” and “from the outside as an observer” perspective influenced suggested definitions. Moreover, we found a need for better defining whether the goal is maintaining current conditions or restoring previous ones. Our result supports the use of animal position data as a decision support tool to monitor and to aid evaluation of the target. Given the number of actors involved and conflicts of interests present, we suggest the application of a structured decision process to accomplish agreements on a common goal. Here, environmental monitoring data can aid a “landscape assessment step” as a natural part in the decision process to target landscape management actions resourcefully and effectively.


Milestone target Structured decision process Reindeer herding Herbivory Environmental Conservation strategy Sweden 



We are grateful for founding by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Swedish EPA) through the research effort ‘A Magnificant Mountain Landscape’. We appreciate very much the constructive comments of all reviewers that helped to improve the manuscript. We thank the RHC Vilhelmina Norra and Vilhelmina Södra for their support with data and for sharing their in-depth knowledge about reindeer husbandry and reindeer biology. We thank S. Juthberg for help with editing the English.


  1. Addison PFE, Rumpff L, Bau S, et al. (2013) Practical solutions for making models indispensable in conservation decision-making. Diversity and Distribution 19: 490–502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen AM, Månsson J, Sand H, et al. (2016) Scaling up movements: From individual space use to population patterns. Ecosphere 7: e01524 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benhamou S (2011) Dynamic approach to space and habitat use based on biased random bridges. PLOS One 6: 1–8. Google Scholar
  4. Bjärstig T, Sandström C (2017) Public-private partnerships in a Swedish rural context: A policy tool for the authorities to achieve sustainable rural development? Journal of Rural Studies 49: 58–68. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolger DT, Newmark WD, Morrison TA, et al. (2008) The need for integrative approaches to understand and conserve migratory ungulates. Ecology Letters 11: 63–77. Google Scholar
  6. Edenius L, Vencatasawmy CP, Sandström P, et al. (2003) Combining satellite imagery and ancillary data to improve mapping of snowbed vegetation important to reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 35: 150–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Edvardsson K (2004) Using goals in environmental management: the Swedish system of environmental objectives. Environmental Management 34: 170–80. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emmelin L, Cherp A (2016) National environmental objectives in Sweden: a critical reflection. Journal of Cleaner Production 12: 194–199. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Environmental Objectives (2018) (downloaded 2018-04-16)
  10. Fortin D, Beyer HL, Boyce MS, et al. (2005) Wolves influence elk movements: behavior shapes a trophic cascade in Yellowstone National Park. Ecology 86: 1320–1330. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Freschet GT, Östlund L, Kichenin E, et al. (2014) Aboveground and belowground legacies of native Sami land use on boreal forest in northern Sweden 100 years after abandonment. Ecology 95: 963–977. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Getz WM, Saltz D (2008) A framework for generating and analyzing movement paths on ecological landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 105: 19066–19071. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gov. Bill 2004/05:150. Svenska miljömål — ett gemensamt uppdrag. Miljö- och energidepartementet. (Accessed 2018-04-16)
  14. IPBES (2018) Summary for policymakers of the regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Fischer M, Rounsevell M, Torre-Marin Rando A, et al. (eds.), IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 48 pages.Google Scholar
  15. Johansson J, Sandström C, Lundmark T (2018) Inspired by structured decision making: a collaborative approach to the governance of multiple forest values. Ecology and Society 23: 16 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Josefsson T, Hornberg G, Östlund L (2009) Long-Term Human Impact and Vegetation Changes in a Boreal Forest Reserve: Implications for the Use of Protected Areas as Ecological References. Ecosystems 12: 1017–1036. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hagemoen RIM, Reimers E (2002) Reindeer summer activity pattern in relation to weather and insect harassment. Journal of Animal Ecology 71: 883–892. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harris G, Thirgood S, Hopcraft JGC, et al. (2009). Global decline in aggregated migrations of large terrestrial mammals. Endangered Species Research 7: 55–76. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Horstkotte T, Utsi TA, Larsson-Blind A, et al. (2017) Human-animal agency in reindeer management: Sami herders’ perspectives on vegetation dynamics under climate change. Ecosphere 8: e01931 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Horstkotte T, Sandström C, Moen J (2014) Exploring the Multiple Use of Boreal Landscapes in Northern Sweden: The Importance of Social-Ecological Diversity for Mobility and Flexibility. Human Ecology 42: 671–682. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hunt TL, Kliskey A, Alessa L (2018) Applying social-ecological systems science to complex mountain landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 16(S1): S3–S3. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kang HM, Kim H, Lee CH, et al. (2017) Changes and development plans in the mountain villages of South Korea: Comparison of the first and second national surveys. Journal of Mountain Science 14: 1473–1489. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kaarlejärvi E, Eskelinen A, Olofsson J (2013) Herbivory prevents positive responses of lowland plants to warmer and more fertile conditions at high altitudes. Functional Ecology 27: 1244–1253. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ketz AC, Johnson TL, Monello RJ, et al. (2016) Informing management with monitoring data: the value of Bayesian forecasting. Ecosphere 7: e01587 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kotsios V (2016) Integrated development planning in mountainous areas — the case of Konitsa, Greece. Journal of Mountain Science 13: 169–182. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lima SL, Zollner PA (1996) Towards a behavioral ecology of ecological landscapes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11: 131–135. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lindahl KB, Johansson A, Zachrisson A, et al. (2018) Competing pathways to sustainability? Exploring conflicts over mine establishments in the Swedish mountain region. Journal of Environmental Management 218: 402–415. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lundqvist LJ (2005) En idé före sin tid? Valfrid Paulsson, svensk vattenvård och ekologisk modernisering. In L. J. Lundgren and J. Edman (Eds.), Konflikter, samarbete, resultat: Perspektiv på svensk miljöpolitik [Conflict, cooperation, performance: Perspectives on the Swedish environmental policy] 2005: 124–141. Festskrift till Valfrid Paulsson. Brottby, Sweden: Kassandra. (In Swedish)Google Scholar
  29. Mayor JR, Sanders NJ, Classen AT, et al. (2017) Elevation alters ecosystem properties across temperate treelines globally. Nature 542: 91–95. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moen J (2006) Land use in the Swedish mountain region: trends and conflicting goals. International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management 2: 305–314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morales JM, Moorcroft PR, Matthiopoulos J, et al. (2010) Building the bridge between animal movement and population dynamics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 228–2301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mårald E, Sandström C, Rist L, et al. (2015) Exploring the use of a dialogue process to tackle a complex and controversial issue in forest management. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 30: 749–756. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Neumann W, Martinuzzi S, Estes AB, et al. (2015) Opportunities for the application of advanced remotely-sensed data in ecological studies of terrestrial animal movement. Movement Ecology 3: 8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Norstedt G, Axelsson AL, Östlund L (2014) Exploring Pre-Colonial Resource Control of Individual Sami Households. Artic 67: 223–237. Google Scholar
  35. Olofsson J, te Beest M, Ericson L (2013) Complex biotic interactions drive long-term vegetation dynamics in a subarctic ecosystem. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 368: 1471–2970. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Olofsson J, Oksanen L, Callaghan T, et al. (2009) Herbivores inhibit climate-driven shrub expansion on the tundra. Global Change Biology 15: 2681–2693. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Olofsson J (2006) Short- and long-term effects of changes in reindeer grazing pressure on tundra heath vegetation. Journal of Ecology 94: 431–440. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Olofsson J, Stark S, Oksanen L (2004) Reindeer influence on ecosystem processes in the tundra. Oikos 105: 386–396. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Östlund L, Hörnberg G, DeLuca TH, et al. (2015) Intensive land use in the Swedish mountains between AD 800 and 1200 led to deforestation and ecosystem transformation with long-lasting effects. Ambio 44: 508 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ratio A-M, Josefsson T, Axelsson A-L, et al. (2016) People and pines 1555–1910: integrating ecology, history and archaeology to assess long-term resource use in northern Fennoscandia. Landscape Ecology 31: 337–349. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rist L, Felton A, Samuelsson L, et al. (2013) A new paradigm for adaptive management. Ecology and Society 18: 63 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sandström P (2015) A toolbox for co-production of knowledge and improved land use dialogues. Doctoral thesis. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. p 20. (Accessed on 2019-06-20)Google Scholar
  43. Sandström P, Cory N, Svensson J, et al. (2016) On the decline of ground lichen forests in the Swedish boreal landscape: Implications for reindeer husbandry and sustainable forest management. Ambio 45: 415–429. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sawyer H, Kauffman MJ (2011) Stopover ecology of a migratory ungulate. Journal of Animal Ecology 80: 1078–1087. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schmidt K, Martin-López B, Phillips PM, et al. (2019). Key landscape features in the provision of ecosystem services: Insights for management. Land Use Policy 82: 353–366. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Skarin A, Nellemann C, Rönnegård P, et al. (2015) Wind farm construction impacts reindeer migration and movement corridors. Landscape Ecology 30: 1527–1540. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Skarin A, Danell Ö, Bergström R, et al. (2010) Reindeer movement patterns in alpine summer ranges. Polar Biology 33: 1263–1275. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Swedish EPA (2014) Redovisning av miljökvalitetsmålen Storslagen Fjällmiljö i FU15. REMISSVERSION. 2014-12-12 Nr NV-02144-14.Google Scholar
  49. Thurfjell H, Ciuti S, Boyce MS (2014) Applications of step-selection functions in ecology and conservation. Movement Ecology 2: 4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tolvanen A, Kangas K (2016) Tourism, biodiversity and protected areas — Review from northern Fennoscandia. Journal of Environmental Management 169: 58–66. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tucker MA, Böhning-Gaese K, Fagan WF, et al. (2018) Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science 359: 466–469. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Uboni A, Horstkotte T, Kaarlejärvi E, et al. (2016) Long-Term Trends and Role of Climate in the Population Dynamics of Eurasian Reindeer. PLoS ONE 11: e0158359 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wei W, Swaisgood RR, Dai Q, et al. (2018) Giant panda distributional and habitat-use shifts in a changing landscape. Conservation Letters 11: e12575 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zeller KA, McGarigal K, Whiteley AR (2012) Estimating landscape resistance to movement: a review. Landscape Ecology 27: 777–797. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental StudiesSwedish University of Agricultural ScienceUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Political SciencesUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

Personalised recommendations