Future Challenges for Reindeer Herding Societies

Reindeer husbandry is of great economic and cultural importance for many indigenous peoples in the Arctic but also represents a traditional way of life. Although the life of reindeer herding families has always been demanding, the circumpolar reindeer industry today faces major challenges.

The predicted global climate change is expected to be particularly pronounced in the Arctic and could have a large impact on reindeer husbandry. Other major future challenges for reindeer herding and the reindeer industry involve societal factors, gender, tourism, pasturage etc.

Attempts have recently been made to map ‘Sami-related’ research, which includes both reindeer husbandry and social sciences. In 2006, the Swedish government commissioned an overview of Swedish research concerning sustainable reindeer husbandry and other Sami-related research. Major conclusions were that research should contribute to solving applied issues, that traditional knowledge should be incorporated and that Sami society should have access to advisory and information bodies that could gather, translate and communicate relevant research results to potential end-users.