AMBIO

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 421–434 | Cite as

Climate Change, Land Use Conflicts, Predation and Ecological Degradation as Challenges for Reindeer Husbandry in Northern Europe: What do We Really Know After Half a Century of Research?

Review Paper

Abstract

Reindeer grazing has been entitled as ecological keystone in arctic–alpine landscapes. In addition, reindeer husbandry is tightly connected to the identity of the indigenous Sámi people in northern Europe. Nowadays, reindeer husbandry is challenged in several ways, of which pasture degradation, climate change, conflicting land uses and predation are the most important. Research on reindeer-related topics has been conducted for more than half a century and this review illuminates whether or not research is capable to match these challenges. Despite its high quality, traditional reindeer-related research is functionally isolated within the various disciplines. The meshwork of ecology, socio-economy, culture and politics, however, in which reindeer husbandry is embedded by various interactions, will remain unclear and difficult to manage, if actors and relationships are kept separate. We propose some targets for new integrative research approaches that incorporate traditional knowledge and focus on the entire human-ecological system ‘reindeer husbandry’ to develop solutions for its challenges.

Keywords

Socio-ecological system Pasture management Landscape ecology Arctic–alpine environments 

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© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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