Research Projects in Progress

The social and financial survival of the reindeer herder families in the communal and professional change – research project (Poroperheiden sosiaalinen ja taloudellinen selviytyminen elinkeinollisessa ja yhteisöllisessä murroksessa –tutkimushanke)

The starting point for this project are the changes that have occurred in the reindeer herding as a source of livelihoods and way of life in the past decades. There have been several changes in the society, environment and socio-cultural aspects that they have had to adjust. Reindeer herding is a nature based, traditional livelihood that has met the pressure of industrialisation where the challenges are f.e. market economy, efficiency, and new forms of land usage.

The aim of the research project is to examine how these societal and environmental changes affect on the everyday social and financial wellbeing, mutual relations and herding work. This research is based on interviews made around the reindeer husbandry area. Interviewees are reindeer herders, their wives and Chiefs of District.

The research aims to find ways on how to support reindeer herding in the communal level from the perspective of wellbeing. In the broader context these questions are about maintaining the livelihoods alive.

This project is administrated by the Lapland University and it is funded by the MAKERA development fund. It is conducted in 2012-2015.

The director of the project is professor Anneli Pohjola and the researcher is Pirjo Oinas.

The effects of large carnivores to the reindeer husbandry –research (Petoeläinten vaikutus porotalouteen PETTU – tutkimus)

Large carnivores have caused an increasing amount of damages to the reindeer herding during the past few years. This has also increased the compensations that are paid by the government. At the same time, the Natural Resources Institute Finland says that the populations of bear and lynx have increased in the reindeer husbandry area, as well as wolverine. There has also been an increasing amount of eagles. The size of the wolf population varies.

Large carnivores and the losses they cause are currently one of the most significant problems that reindeer herders face. Reindeer husbandry and its administration need different ways to broadly evaluate the effects of large carnivores on the reindeer husbandry. The project aims to examine the direct and indirect losses and their effects on the productivity and economy in different parts of the reindeer husbandry area. These results can be used to develop the compensation system and in the population management plans.

This project is administrated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland and it is conducted in 2013-2015. It is funded by MAKERA development fund.

Managing researcher of this project is Jouko Kumpula.

More information on the project (in Finnish)

Monitoring reindeer pasture areas (Porolaidunten tilan seuranta)

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (formerly Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute) has monitored the reindeer pasture areas in 20 northernmost reindeer herding cooperatives. The aim of the project has been to produce information on the pasture areas and changes that have occurred in them. This information is provided at least once in ten years. The reasons for the changes are also analysed.

The next monitoring round will be made in 2016-2019 in the whole reindeer husbandry area. This information will be attached to the GIS-system of reindeer husbandry. Then it can be utilised in administration, land usage planning, research and reindeer husbandry. The project is permanent in the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

Managing researcher of this project is Jouko Kumpula.

More information on the project (in Finnish).

The competitiveness of reindeer husbandry in changing circumstances (Porotalouden kilpailukyky muuttuvissa olosuhteissa)

This research aims to produce broad information on the development opportunities of reindeer husbandry business and more sustainable reindeer husbandry overall. The research consists of three different parts: modelling unit costs of reindeer meat, a case research on the profitability of different ways of reindeer herding and finally and to create different kind of approaches for the herders to find the strong points and development issues of their businesses. All these aim to find ways on how to different production sites could strengthen the social and economical durability of reindeer herding.

The research is funded by the MAKERA development fund and it is conducted between 2012-2015.

Managing researcher is Kaija Saarni.

More information on the project (in Finnish).