Reindeer, Cows and People: Sustainable Human–Animal Adaptations in Finnish Lapland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Animal husbandry in the Fennoscandian North is limited mainly to reindeer herding and cattle farming as practices that are adapted to low temperatures and harsh seasonal changes. Reindeer herding is a traditional livelihood and culture based on one of the most adapted animals to the Arctic. Today, herders are dealing with the difficult task of trying to avoid the animals’ becoming too dependent on artificial winter feeding. The herders also need to protect the pastures, already suffering from the impact of climate change, from being encroached by other forms of natural resources exploitation. In cattle farming, the Lapland Cattle, officially the Northern Finncattle, is a native and nowadays endangered breed, whose adapted traits along with the farmers’ breeding strategies have successfully adjusted it to the extreme northerly conditions. The farming of this native breed is, however, struggling between sustaining the breed in accordance with local characteristic adaptation and responding to the efficiency requirements, such as higher milk production, set for dairy farms. We argue that the reindeer herders’ and farmers’ traditional and local knowledge related to their animal husbandry plays an important role in the sustainability of these animal practices and cultures in the Arctic regions, and should be better taken into account in all management policies which seek to regulate them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving and Working With Snow, Ice and Seasons in the Modern Arctic
Subtitle of host publicationEveryday Perspectives
EditorsHannah Strauss-Mazzullo, Monica Tennberg
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-36445-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-36447-1, 978-3-031-36444-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesArctic Encounters


  • animal husbandry
  • local food production
  • technology
  • state politics
  • global change
  • culture
  • sustainability

Field of science

  • Social and Culture Antropology


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