Winter pastures in the northern part of the reindeer management area in Finland during 2005–2008. Changes on the state of pastures after the mid of 1990’s
The reindeer pasture inventory was conducted during 2005–2008 in the 20 northernmost reindeer herding districts of Finland. The results of the inventory were also compared to the results of the previous inventories.
Lichen pastures were heavily worn out to a large extent in the studied herding districts (lichen biomass <300 kg/ha). However, in most of the districts, lichen pastures were in better condition in a winter range than in a summer range area. Lichen pastures in good (biomass >1 000 kg/ha) or moderate (biomass 500–100 kg/ha) condition levels were still found in those pasture areas where reindeer grazed only during winter and which, at the same time, were located in the conservation areas beyond forestry and infrastructure. The most heavily worn out lichen pastures were located in the mountainous areas and in middle and western Lapland. From the mid 1990’s to 2005–2008, the lichen biomass in the studied field sites has decreased in most of the districts. The long-term effects of forestry appeared clearly in those reindeer herding districts located in the operation ranges of forestry, where forest and landscape structure has fragmented mainly into the mosaics of felled and sapling stand areas and young forests. The largest and most continuous winter range areas with old growth forest are now located in the conservation areas. Also, the gradual increase of infrastructure has intensified the fragmentation of winter ranges. In 11 of the studied districts, the areas covered and impacted by infrastructure formed 5–27% of the total land area, but in the backcountry districts, these amounts were smaller.
In order to improve the state of lichen pastures, more attention should be paid, besides the number of reindeer, on developing and employing well-working pasture rotation systems. Because the effects of forestry and infrastructure are negative for the state and usability value of winter ranges, reindeer herding should be valuated better when implementing forestry operations or expanding infrastructure, especially in the northern part of the reindeer herding area. Effects of long-term reindeer densities and grazing system, as well as impacts of other land use forms on the states of lichen pastures and winter ranges, should be studied in more detail. For the evaluation of the state of the reindeer herding environments, a versatile, expanding co-operation should be developed along with combining resources with different research institutes.
Poronhoitoalueen pohjoisosan talvilaitumet vuosina 2005–2008: laidunten tilan muutokset 1990-luvun puolivälin jälkeen
Jouko Kumpula, Ari Tanskanen, Alfred Colpaert, Marja Anttonen, Heikki Törmänen, Jukka Siitari ja Sari Siitari
Riista- ja kalatalous.
Tutkimuksia, nro 3, 2009
ISBN 978-951-776-684-5 (pdf)
ISBN 978-951-776-683-8 (printed)
ISSN 1796-8879 (pdf)
ISSN 1796-8860 (printed)
Keywords: lichen, land use, reindeer herding, pastures, winter ranges
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