New Article: Barriers to Incorporating Traditional Knowledge into Policy, Focus on Reindeer Herding in Finnmark

October 22, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Projects, UArctic EALAT InstituteLeave a comment

Polar GeographyA timely contribution has been made to the debate about how governance and traditional knowledge intersect and the barriers that exist when trying to incorporate traditional knowledge into local and regional governance policies with a special focus on reindeer husbandry in Finnmark, Norway. This paper by Ellen Inga Turi and Carina Keskitalo paper highlights barriers to knowledge integration induced by the design of supportive policy instruments of information and institution building, where traditional knowledge is de-prioritized in relation to scientific knowledge.

The paper has been published in the most recent edition of Polar Geography

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Reindeer Seminar in Rovaniemi Next Week

October 15, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

ReArctic Centre Logoindeer herding and land use management – Nordic perspectives Seminar gathers reindeer herding researchers and experts to Rovaniemi, Finland 19th–21st October 2014. The main focus of the seminar, held in Arktikum, is on is
sues related to reindeer herding and land use questions in the Nordic reindeer herding area. 

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Reflective Reindeer Antlers – It’s that time of year again..

October 13, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, ReindeerLeave a comment

Reflective antlersLast year probably the most widely circulated story about reindeer on the internet was the one about the special spray that the Finnish Reindeer Herders’ Cooperative introduced for reindeer antlers for testing. The testing wrapped earlier this year and now, with the winter coming again, new tests are scheduled to begin. These tests will be on about 300 reindeer in 6 cooperatives in the Rovaniemi region in Finland.

Reindeer losses to accidents on the roads are considerable. In Finland alone, 3500-4500 reindeer are killed by collisions with cars and trucks each year, with the peak period being the ‘dark time’ between the months of November and January.

A new product from the Swedish company Albedo100 will be used which it is hoped will prove to be a more sturdy and sustainable solution than the previous product tested which disappointed in trials.

Source: YLE

New Board for International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry

October 10, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, ICR/WRHLeave a comment

ICR LogoThe Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, after having consulted the Association of World Reindeer Herders, has appointed members to the board of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in Kautokeino, Norway.
From10 October 2014 through 9 October 2018 the board will have the following composition:




Chair: Inger Anita Smuk (nominated by Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH)

Board members:
Roza Laptander (nominated by the Russian Union of Reindeer Herders)
Per-Jonas Partapouli (nominated by Svenske samers riksforbund og Sáminuorra)
Mikhail Pogodaev (nominated by Association of World Reindeer Herders – WRH)
Mai-Britt Utsi (nominated by Sámi University College)
Mauri Ylä-Kotola (nominated by University of Lapland)

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The Wonders of Reindeer Spit….

Philip BurgessBlog, ReindeerLeave a comment

reindeer calveWe here at the Reindeer Portal know all about how wonderful reindeer are. Science is also finding out new wonders about reindeer all the time. The short podcast below is about how their saliva can prevent the production of toxins in plants and fungus favoured by reindeer and moose. Source: Scientific American



Shanghai Daily Report on China’s Reindeer Herders

October 9, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Evenki Herder in China

There are not many stories out of China that are about the Evenki reindeer herders that are still practising reindeer husbandry in the North East of the country. The Shanghai Daily has just carried a story on the reindeer herders of China, who number in the tens.

HOHHOT, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) — Soon, tribesman Gu Wenqiang will have to bid farewell to his herd of deer, leaving his small shack tucked away in the lush green forests of the Greater Khingan Range.

After more than a month of tending the herd of reindeer, the 36 year old will soon drive from his temporary shelter and return to his hometown of Aoluguya Ewenki located 50 km away. It’s an occurance that’s happening more frequently these days.


For Gu and others from the Aoluguya Ewenki tribe, dubbed “the last hunting tribe of China,” such trips have become routine following the tribe’s relocation to a township near Genhe City, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, from the mountain forests eleven years ago. For a decade, nomadic life has been the only choice to keep their ancient culture alive.

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Radioactivity in Norway’s reindeers hits a high

October 8, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, ReindeerLeave a comment

Radiation symbolMuch higher levels of radioactivity than normal have been found among Norway’s grazing animals, especially its reindeer population, a study revealed on Monday.


Almost 30 years after the nuclear plant explosion in Chernobyl, this autumn, more radioactivity has been measured in Norwegian grazing animals than has been noted in many years.

Lavrans Skuterud, a scientist at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (Statens strålevern), said: “This year is extreme.”
In September, 8200 becquerel per kilo of the radioactive substance Caesium-137 was measured in reindeer from Våga reinlag AS, in Jotunheimen, central Norway.
In comparison, the highest amount at the same place was 1500 becquerel among the reindeer in September 2012.

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Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve

October 6, 2014 • Alena GerasimovaBlog, Challenges, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

Ardni Siida reindeer in AutumnAuthorities in Norbotten in northern Sweden have rejected plans to allow mining of iron ore in Kallak near Jokkmokk due to concerns over the impact on traditional reindeer grazing, according to The Local 

The ruling is the second time Norrbotten has foiled Jokkmok Iron Mines AB’s ambitions for the site and furthermore recommended that the Mining Inspectorate confirms the decision in order to protect reindeer herding in the area.

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Arctic Parliamentarians Voice Strong Support to Indigenous Livelihoods

September 24, 2014 • Alena GerasimovaBlogLeave a comment

The 11th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region was hosted by the Canadian parliament in Whitehorse 9-11 September 2014 and the text is a strong expression of support for indigenous peoples in the Arctic and that their traditional livelihoods need support while recognizing that the Arctic is a developing region, industrially.

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‘Mining threatens to eat up northern Europe’s last wilderness’ (The Guardian)

September 15, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Challenges, Reindeer, Reindeer HerdersLeave a comment

YaraThe Guardian newspaper carried a lengthy article on the explosion of mining in northern Finland, Norway and Sweden. As anyone resident in the region knows, there is a huge minerals exploitation boom underway and many are surprised to learn that this part of the world has very favourable regulations regarding the claims process for mining.  This boom is directly impacting on reindeer pasture loss. To give an idea of the scale of the boom, the article notes that,

So far in 2014, 349 applications for mining permits have been made, of which 243 have been for Finland. Over one-eighth of Finland, an area twice the size of Wales, has now been designated for mining and hundreds of applications for exploration licenses have been received by the government.

Currently in the Finnish media, attention is being paid to the massive open pit mine planned for the Sokli area,

Fertiliser company Yara International plans a massive 40-60 sq km open-cast phosphorus mine near Sokli in eastern Lapland between the Urho Kekkonen national park and the Värriö nature park. Billions of gallons of polluted waste water would have to be be drained, via pristine lakes and rivers, and millions of tonnes of waste would be created every year.

You can read one of Yara Internationals presentations on the mine here.