Reindeer husbandry and climate change: challenges for adaptation

Sirpa Rasmus, Tim Horstkotte, Minna Turunen, Mia Landauer, Annette Löf, Ilari Lehtonen, Gunhild Rosqvist, Øystein Holand

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Reindeer and reindeer herders in the circumpolar North are exposed to harsh and often hard-to-predict weather conditions. Herding communities have previously adapted to these external disturbances by flexible pasture use, seasonal mobility, changing herding practices, diversifying livelihoods and continuously developing traditional or experience-based knowledge. However, few places in the world experience ongoing climate change as clearly and rapidly as the high northern latitudes. The effects of climate change and increased frequency of extreme weather events are transforming the biophysical environment of reindeer husbandry. These changes challenge the adaptive capacity of herders who operate in a landscape they share with, and which is highly impacted by, other forms of land use. Thus, sociopolitical factors play a major role in developing adaptation strategies that are perceived as desirable and possible. This chapter summarizes the observed and expected changes in climate and impacts thereof within the reindeer herding area (RHA) of northern Fennoscandia. The chapter further presents a range of strategies adopted by herders to cope with adverse, seasonal weather conditions and indirect impacts of climate change. Finally, it situates these strategies in the context of more proactive and institutional adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReindeer husbandry and global environmental change
Subtitle of host publicationPastoralism in Fennoscandia
EditorsTim Horstkotte, Øystein Holand , Jouko Kumpula, Jon Moen
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-11856-5
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-63267-0, 978-0-367-63268-7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Geosciences


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