The pursuit of populations collapses: long-term dynamics of semi-domestic reindeer in Sweden

In Scandinavia there is a growing concern that the reindeer husbandry is in a state of crisis, but results from our recent study indicates that the Swedish reindeer husbandry is in fact in better condition now compared to the past (1945-1965).

By Bård-Jørgen Bårdsen & Marius Warg Næss

In Scandinavia there is a growing concern that the reindeer husbandry is in a state of crisis, but results from our recent study indicates that the Swedish reindeer husbandry is in better condition now compared to the past (1945-1965). Continue reading “The pursuit of populations collapses: long-term dynamics of semi-domestic reindeer in Sweden”

New research paper about cooperation in groups of Saami reindeer herders

The Tangled Woof of Fact

People rely on one another in fundamental ways, but cooperation in groups can be fragile. Every day, we face tensions between acting in a socially responsible manner and following our own self-interest. These situations are called social dilemmas and they come in varying shades of subtlety, from littering and eBay to overpopulation and climate change. Overcoming these dilemmas can make all the difference, especially for marginalised groups such as pastoralists – people who make their living from herding animals.

Pastoralists use about a quarter of the world’s land for grazing their herds. Nowadays, all over the world, governments are privatising many of their pastures, and so herders must work together in increasingly fragmented places.

We wanted to learn how groups of Saami reindeer herders living in Norway’s Arctic Circle worked together. Our study, just published in the journal Human Ecology, found that cooperation pivoted around the ‘siida’: a…

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Reindeer Husbandry in a Globalizing North – resilience, adaptations and pathways for Actions (ReiGN)

It’s the time of the year when we eagerly await the results from the year’s (many) research proposals.

Continue reading “Reindeer Husbandry in a Globalizing North – resilience, adaptations and pathways for Actions (ReiGN)”

Workshop in Tromsø February 18

In connection with the project “The Erosion of Cooperative Networks and the Evolution of Social Hierarchies: A Comparative Approach” and NIKU‘s 20th anniversary,  a workshop will be arranged on Wednesday 18th of February in Tromsø, Norway.

Time: Wednesday February 18 12:30-16:00 Continue reading “Workshop in Tromsø February 18”

HIERARCHIES: New research project from the Research Council of Norway

Last week I got the news that I got a 4 year research grant funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Continue reading “HIERARCHIES: New research project from the Research Council of Norway”

What’s killing the reindeer?

Predatory species compete with humans for the use of resources such as livestock and an important tool for managing possible conflicts is damage compensation schemes distributing the costs between those who benefit from conservation and those who suffer the costs of damage.

Continue reading “What’s killing the reindeer?”

Risk-sensitive reproductive allocation: fitness consequences of body mass losses in two contrasting environments

Just got a paper published in Ecology and Evolution. It is basically about reindeer life history and risk sensitivity. Continue reading “Risk-sensitive reproductive allocation: fitness consequences of body mass losses in two contrasting environments”

Why Herd Size Matters – Mitigating the Effects of Livestock Crashes

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Just got a paper published in PLOS ONE. Basically, it provides the rationale for why it pays off for pastoralists to keep large herds of livestock. Continue reading “Why Herd Size Matters – Mitigating the Effects of Livestock Crashes”

Reindeer herders’ objectives may differ from official assumptions

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A number of explanations have been raised in the literature as to why pastoralists keep large herds of animals: From the “East African cattle complex”, where the prestigious aspect of having large herds was given weight, to nomadic pastoralists seeking reliable food intake and valuing long-term household survival.  Importantly, however, large herds have been argued and shown to buffer environmental risks, like in the reindeer husbandry where herders with comparable larger herds one year also had comparable larger herds the next. Continue reading “Reindeer herders’ objectives may differ from official assumptions”

My latest publication

A bit earlier this year I got a paper published in Evolution and Human Behavior. In general, the paper investigates how pastoral slaughter strategies are shaped in the reindeer husbandry in Norway.

From a governmental point of view, the reindeer husbandry is characterised by overstocking of reindeer (especially in the northern parts of the country). As a consequence, the Norwegian government has initiated a subsidy policy aiming to stimulate households to slaughter as many reindeer as possible so as to reduce the number of reindeer and thereby create a sustainable reindeer husbandry. Nevertheless, in spite of this subsidy policy, the number of reindeer has increased rather than decreased. This indicates that reindeer herders do not make slaughter related decisions from a purely economic point of view.

Continue reading “My latest publication”