The effects of climate change on reindeers

Reindeers in the snow Credit: Igor Shalabin, Pexels

Stockholm University, Luleå University of Technology and several villages in Sapmi are investigating the impact of climate change on reindeer husbandry and have found reasons for concern.

“The climate scenario gives a very dark picture of the future. Climate change is very big and fast,” said Erik Kjellström, professor at SMHI (Swedish Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology). 

He emphasised the negative effects of increased rainfalls which have lowered grazing opportunities, as well as the increase in heat waves during the summer, which causes stress to the animals.

“If we don’t address the emissions and we have a rampant climate change that happens quickly, there will be very serious consequences and problems in the future,” Kjellström highlighted.

However, climate change is not the only reason for the concern of the reindeer husbandry. Gunhild Ninis Rosqvist, professor of geography at Stockholm University, investigated the land exploitation within Sapmi.

“Cumulative effects of mineral extraction, energy production and forestry have fragmented and reduced the availability of grazing land for a long time. Through climate change’s need for fossil-free energy, the impact will continue to increase,” she said.

To have a better plan of action, as  Kjellström stated, more knowledge needs to be gathered “to gain a better understanding of how the reindeer industry must meet and adapt.” The project will continue for the next four years, focusing on ensuring the wellbeing of reindeers.

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.