Wood pastures and reindeer in Sweden

Description of system

Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus L.) husbandry has been continuously practiced alongside forestry in Sweden since at least the late 19th century. Near the Sami village Njaarke, much of the area is demarcated as Fennoscandian wooden pastures (EU Directive Habitats Code 9070). During the summer, reindeer from Njaarke Sami village are kept in the non-forested mountain areas, but between October and April the reindeer are kept in the winter grazing area of wood pastures. During the year, members of the Sami village work with the reindeer, and other activities such as tourism, hunting, fishing, and forest work.

Initial stakeholder meeting

Two initial stakeholder meetings took place at Östersund in central Sweden. At a third stakeholder meeting, AGFORWARD researchers were invited by the Njaarke Sami village representatives to their hunting and fishing camp at Sovvene (www.sovvene.se) at Åkroken north west of Östersund. After discussions, this included a visit to an area where the Sami village has a reindeer-drift fence where reindeer are gathered each autumn for marking and slaughtering. The stakeholder meeting involved five people from Sami and three people from the forestry sector.

The meeting provided an improved understanding of the relationship between forestry and reindeer husbandry, which are performed in the same area. Reindeer husbandry is a basic right for the Sami Village Njaarke guaranteed by Swedish law, and it was generally accepted that forestry is positive for reindeer husbandry and vice versa. However there were some forestry operations that cause concern for reindeer husbandry.

The representatives from the Sami village were generally content with the existing agroforestry system, and saw opportunities in having common use of the land. A negative aspects of the system was the impact of predators on the reindeer herds.


For further information on this group, please contact: Erik Valinger (erik.valinger@slu.se)

Download the initial stakeholder report

Download the initial research and development protocol

A research and development protocol was produced in March 2015.

Download the system description

A research update on the integration of reindeer and forestry was produced in December 2015.

Lesson learnt

Erik Valinger and colleagues have summarised the lessons learnt regarding the impacts of GPS collars and adaptive forest management on reindeer husbandry in central Sweden.  GPS tracking, although not currently cost-effective, enabled better control and monitoring of the reindeer herd, the tracking of predators, and easier working conditions.  The information on migration routes can help forest managers and their plans.  Lastly adapted forest management, paying proper consideration to major reindeer grazing areas, was estimated to increase the profitability of reindeer husbandry.