Mission impossible? Pursuing the co-existence of viable predator populations and sustainable reindeer husbandry in Finland

Sirpa Rasmus, Ilpo Kojola, Minna Turunen, Harri Norberg, Jouko Kumpula, Tuomo Ollila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recovery and expansion of large carnivores have increased livestock damage in Europe, one example being the reindeer husbandry in northern Fennoscandia. Mostly free-ranging reindeer herds have been exposed to increased predation. We studied connections between the contemporary predator management approach and the consequences of predation in reindeer husbandry within the reindeer management area in Finland. National and supranational management policies aim at biodiversity conservation; predator populations with favourable conservation status play an important role in this. The metapopulation status of large carnivores has been suffering from weak connections between Finland and Scandinavia, but such connections have the potential to be improved due to increased population sizes and changes in carnivore distribution in Finland. Although the sustainability of rural livelihoods is pursued concurrent with the recovering predator populations, the increasing amount of predation-caused reindeer damage has locally compromised the economic sustainability of reindeer husbandry and well-being of herders in Finland. If co-existence is pursued in the present situation, it will require both the development of novel coping strategies by herders to prevent damage, and adaptive management of predator populations. To increase the acceptance of predator protection by local communities, it is crucial to develop more interactive predator management strategies with a concrete role of local stakeholders to address trust issues between herders, policy makers and researchers. Open discussion on the population goals for predators in the reindeer management area as well as the desired role and status of reindeer husbandry is also needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-148
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume80
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • Large carnivores
  • Predator policies
  • Reindeer husbandry
  • Semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus)

Field of science

  • Geosciences

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