A Review of climate change impacts on the ecosystem services in the Saami Homeland in Finland

Inkeri Markkula, Minna Turunen, Sirpa Rasmus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this work is (i) to review the recent studies on weather and climate change in Finnish Sápmi and to present the literature review findings alongside our survey on the observations made by local reindeer herders on the same phenomena, and, further, (ii) to review the impacts of climate change on the ecosystem services (ES) in Finnish Sápmi. The focus of the study is on the impacts of climate change on those habitat, provisioning and cultural ecosystem services which are interconnected with the Saami way of life as Indigenous people and thus support the continuity of their culture. In the holistic world view of Arctic Indigenous peoples, material culture and non-material culture are not separated, and there is no boundary between nature and culture. However, cultural and spiritual meanings of ecosystems, species and landscapes are rarely taken into account in scientific research on ecosystems services. Our review indicates that mostly negative impacts of climate warming on ecosystems and traditional livelihoods are to be expected in Sápmi. The most profound negative impacts will be on palsa mire and fell ecosystems, in particular snowbeds, snow patches and mountain birch forests. Consequently, changes in ecosystems may erode cultural meanings, stories, memories and traditional knowledge attached to them and affect the nature-based traditional livelihoods. In a situation where our rapidly changing climate is affecting the foundations of the nature-based cultures, the present review can provide a knowledge base for developing adaptation actions and strategies for local communities and Indigenous peoples to cope with changes caused by climate change and other drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1085
Number of pages16
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoEC publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Climate change
  • Cultural ES
  • Ecosystem services (ES)
  • Habitat ES
  • Provisioning ES
  • Sápmi

Field of science

  • Geosciences
  • Environmental sciences


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