Land Usage in the Reindeer Husbandry Area

Reindeer is a ruminant that needs different kind of plant species for food at different times of the year. Reindeer herding is based on natural pasture areas and free grazing: reindeer finds its food from the nature and it uses around 350 different plant species. A significant part of these grow in the forests – particularly lichens.  Mires, meadows and rich sides of brooks are reindeers’ summer pasture areas. In the autumn, reindeer gather to dry lands and forests to eat mushrooms.

Reindeer herding needs broad and diverse pasture areas to function ecologically, socially, culturally and financially sustainable way.

Image. Maaren Angeli.

Reindeer herding is affected by other land usage for example through declining food resources or diminishing and shattering pasture areas. There can be distractions and changes in the grazing cycle. Herding activities can get more difficult and different kind of accidents may occur.  Land usage has effects on the financial side of the herding, but also to the culture.

Land usage in reindeer husbandry area Finland 2024.

Reindeer herding is dependent on nature and it is based on using renewable natural resources in a sustainable way. Reindeer herding is affected by all land usage related to using natural resources in the reindeer husbandry area. The main influencers are forestry, mining industry, wind farms and hydropower production, peat production, travel industry and different kind of protected areas.

The best kind of pasture is for reindeer is broad and diverse. Reindeer can then find different kind of plant species and areas to dig for food. Good pasture area provides enough nutrition for reindeer and it is a peaceful area without too much human activities.  The best pasture areas are located to protected areas where other land usage is limited.

Reindeer herding is actively involved in various legally regulated proceedings, such as in different stages of zoning, in EIA of projects, maintenance plans of reserve areas, exploration and mining processes, traffic planning (roads and railways).

Reindeer Herders’ Association acts as an expert in issues related to reindeer herding. It also helps cooperatives in land usage issues. The Association gives statements and participates on negotiations, steering and development groups and collects information about the effects of land usage to reindeer herding.

According to the RHA 53 §, all actions planned on state land effecting also reindeer husbandry has to be negotiated with the representatives of the cooperative involved. In the negotiations, cooperatives are represented by their Chief of District.


More information: Advisors


Reindeer EIA

Reindeer Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a comprehensive guide to taking reindeer herding into consideration when planning land usage projects.