The Climate and the Reindeer Industry
The Sami Parliament is concerned about the changed conditions for the reindeer industry caused by the climate changes.
The Earth’s climate has become warmer. The temperature has increased a little over 0.7 ° C over the past 150 years, and over the past decades, the temperature has risen a little less than 0.2 ° every ten years. The effects of a climate change have now begun to be noticed on all continents. The effects are, for example, rising ocean levels, decreased snow cover, decreased spread of sea ice and shrinking glaciers.
The consequences of a climate change are going to vary considerably around the globe depending on variations in regional changes and in differences in vulnerability and capability to adjust. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) points out parts of Asia and Africa as well as the Arctic as particularly vulnerable regions. Working Group II , of the IPCC assesses questions concerning impacts, adaption and vulnerability. The Sami Parliament is also active in the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council.
The temperature in Europe has risen somewhat faster than the global mean the last 150 years, having increased by 0.9 ° C. The conditions for the reindeer industry changes. A longer vegetation season and more pasturage hardly balance greater difficultly in winter grazing conditions and the moving of reindeer.
Changed conditions for the reindeer industry
The conditions for carrying out a reindeer industry in Sweden, according to climate and vulnerability investigation, will be seriously affected by climate changes. The wintertime snow conditions can become more difficult. Large reindeer grazing areas can be locked due to frozen snow crusts and ice formation, which can mean an increased need for support fodder. The costs for support foddering can be limited if winter grazing grounds outside reindeer herding areas can be used when difficult snow conditions prevent grazing on traditional grazing grounds. The reindeer industry may need changed regulations in order to manage changed climate conditions that lead to changed reindeer grazing, shifted moving times and new moving routes.
Conflicts of interest
This can in turn lead to increased conflicts of interest with other industries and in the long run more court processes. Winter grazing grounds outside reindeer herding areas used as reserve grazing during hard times are so far an untapped resource within the reindeer industry. Agreements between the reindeer industry and land owners for the leasing of natural pasture outside reindeer herding areas should be established, in the opinion of the Swedish government.
Values other than the financial
Reindeer husbandry and the Sami as an indigenous people contribute with cultural and environmental values which are difficult to translate into economic terms. A reindeer industry policy should create conditions for a sustainable and viable reindeer industry in a changed climate.