Wind Energy Projects and Reindeer Herders´ Rights in Finnish Lapland, A Legal Framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Reindeer herding is both a traditional livelihood and business. Reindeer herding in the Nordic countries has been able to keep remote northern areas inhabited and maintained indigenous cultures. Reindeer herders have also been able to adapt to new circumstances, and a lot of them have invested in value-adding production or secondary occupations, such as tourism. The main challenge for reindeer herding is loss for pastures, which are used as commons, for other industries and infrastructure projects. The most recent competitor for land use is the growing investments on renewable energy production of windmill farms, which disturbs especially reindeer calving. In this article, we study the rights and opportunities of reindeer herders in participating in decision making on land use for infrastructure projects in general and windmill projects specifically. We focus on the situation in Finland, but also use examples of reported land use conflicts (between reindeer herders and windmill farms) from other Nordic countries. The aim of the article is to find out how reindeer herders experience their opportunities for participating in decision-making and how decision-makers understand their opinions. There is national legislation on participation in land use, as well as an increasing amount of international conventions to protect the environment and rights of local, especially indigenous populations. This international law has affected on Finnish national legislation and the constitution, which requires people with indigenous livelihoods be consulted before infrastructure projects get started. We focus on the rules and regulations in connection with windmill farms. Windmill farms are especially interesting, since renewable energy is now preferred as safer and greener energy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalElementa
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Field of science

  • Law

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