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Climate Change and Pastoral Flexibility: A Norwegian Saami Case: Hugo Reinert, Svein Mathiesen and Erik Reinert

The Scandinavian Sámi are one of more than twenty circumpolar ethnic groups that traditionally practice reindeer herding. Climate change will likely affect the practice of pastoralism in Sámi areas severely. Winter tempera-tures may increase significantly, while changes in precipitation and wind will affect snow patterns. Traditional Sámi pastoralism is well adapted to handling rapid change in extreme and often unpredictable environments, and past responses to climatic variability may offer clues as to how long-term and permanent climate change can be successfully managed. The paper ar-gues that the key to successful management lies in maximizing herder flexi-bility in responding to changing conditions. Between the four nation-states that currently include Sámi pastoralism within their territories – Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia – have a surprising amount of variety in their systems of governance. Due to limitations of space, our discussion here fo-cuses specifically on the Norwegian case. We propose that in the face of climate change, timely adjustments are made to national governance struc-tures, aimed specifically at maintaining and re-establishing conditions for pastoral flexibility. This will be key to ensuring the survival of Sámi reindeer herding – both as culture and as economic practic

The Political Economy of Northern Regional Development Vol. I.

Gorm Winther, Gerard Duhaime, Jack Kruse, Chris Southcott, Hans Aage, Ivar Jonsson, Lyudmila Zalkind, Iulie Aslaksen, Solveig Glomsröd, Anne Ingeborg Myhr, Hugo Reinert, Svein Mathiesen, Erik Reinert, Joan Nymand Larsen, Rasmus Ole Rasmussen, André Caron, Birger Poppel, Jón Haukur Ingimundarson (in order of appearance)
TemaNord 2010:521. The Political Economy of Northern Regional Development, Vol. I © Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen 2010

ISBN 978-92-893-2016-0

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Adapting to climate change: the nation-state as problem and solution
and is authored by Erik S. Reinert, Iulie Aslaksen, Inger Marie G. Eira, Svein D. Mathiesen, Hugo Reinert and Ellen Inga Turi
in Adapting to Climate Change - Thresholds, Values, Governance
, edited by W. Neil Adger (University of East Anglia), Irene Lorenzoni (University of East Anglia), and Karen L. O'Brien (Universitetet i Oslo)

Climate change is a critical problem facing humanity. This involves reconsidering our lifestyles, and is linked to our actions as individuals, societies and governments. This book presents the latest science and social science research on whether the world can adapt to climate change. Written by experts, both academics and practitioners, it examines the risks to ecosystems, demonstrating how values, culture and the constraining forces of governance act as barriers to action. As a state-of-the-art review of science and a holistic assessment of adaptation options, it is essential reading for those concerned with responses to climate change, especially researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and graduate students. Significant features include historical, contemporary, and future insights into adaptation to climate change; coverage of adaptation issues from different perspectives: climate science, hydrology, engineering, ecology, economics, human geography, anthropology and political science; and contributions from leading researchers and practitioners from around the world.

• Covers adaptation issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, creating an understanding of the multifaceted nature of the topic • Historical, contemporary, and future insights into the issue allow readers to examine how to implement adaptation actions at different timescales and contexts • Contributions from leading scientists from around the world provide a holistic assessment of the subject and the adaptation options currently available

More information and articles for preview here at Cambridge University Press

Rumen microbial diversity in Svalbard reindeer, with particular emphasis on methanogenic archaea
By Monica A. Sundset, Joan E. Edwards, Yan Fen Cheng, Roberto S. Senosiain, Maria N. Fraile, Korinne S. Northwood, Kirsti E. Præsteng, Trine Glad, Svein D. Mathiesen & André-Denis G. Wright

FEMS Microbiology Ecology
DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI) 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2009.00750.x About DOI

Ruminal methanogens, bacteria and ciliate protozoa of Svalbard reindeer grazing natural pastures in October (late fall) and April (late winter) were investigated using molecular-based approaches. The appetite of the Svalbard reindeer peaks in August (summer) and is at its lowest in March (winter). Microbial numbers, quantified by real-time PCR, did not change significantly between October and April, when food intakes are at similar levels, although the numbers of methanogens tended to be higher in October (P=0.074), and ciliate numbers tended to be higher in April (P=0.055). Similarly, no change was detected in the bacterial and protozoal population composition by rRNA gene-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis. Dominant methanogens were identified using a 16S rRNA gene library (97 clones) prepared from pooled PCR products from reindeer on October pasture (n=5). Eleven of the 22 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs) generated exhibited a high degree of sequence similarity to methanogens affiliated with Methanobacteriales (eight OTUs), Methanomicrobiales (one OTU) and Methanosarcinales (two OTUs). The remaining 11 OTUs (53% of the clones) were associated with a cluster of uncultivated ruminal archaea. This study has provided important insights into the rumen microbiome of a high-arctic herbivorous animal living under harsh nutritional conditions, and evidence suggesting that host type affects the population size of ruminal methanogens.

Background paper on adaptation to Climate Change in the Arctic. 

by Nuttall, M., Forest, PA., and Mathiesen, S.D
. 2008.

Background paper on adaptation to Climate Change in the Arctic. In Snellmann, O.,Kullerud,L, and Lindstrom, Guy and Ropstad, B.W. Proceedings of the joint Seminar Uarctic rectors forum and the Standing committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic regions. UArctic Publications Series No2 page 17-21. ISBN 978 - 952 - 484 - 232- 7.


By Monica A. Sundset , Joan E. Edwards, Yan Fen Cheng, Roberto S. Senosiain, Maria N. Fraile, Korinne S. Northwood, Kirsti E. Præsteng, Trine Glad, Svein D. Mathiesen and André-Denis G. Wright.

The molecular diversity of the rumen microbiome was investigated in five semi-domesticated adult female Norwegian reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) grazing on natural summer pastures on the coast of northern Norway (71.00° N, 25.30° E). Mean population densities (numbers per gram wet weight) of methanogenic archaea, rumen bacteria and ciliate protozoa, estimated using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), were 3.17×109, 5.17×1011 and 4.02×107, respectively. Molecular diversity of rumen methanogens was revealed using a 16S rRNA gene library (54 clones) constructed using pooled PCR products from the whole rumen contents of the five individual reindeer. Based upon a similarity criterion of <97%, a total of 19 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified, nine of which are potential new species. The 16S rRNA sequences generated from the reindeer rumen exhibited a high degree of sequence similarity to methanogens affiliated with the families Methanobacteriaceae (14 OTUs) and Methanosarcinaceae (one OTU). Four of the OTUs detected belonged to a group of uncultivated archaea previously found in domestic ruminants and thought to be dominant in the rumen together with Methanobrevibacter spp. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiling of the rumen bacterial 16S rRNA gene and the protozoal 18S rRNA gene indicated a high degree of animal variation, although some bands were common to all individuals. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) profiling of the ruminal Neocallimastigales population indicated that the reindeer are likely to contain more than one type of anaerobic fungus. The ARISA profile from one animal was distinct from the other four. This is the first molecular investigation of the ruminal methanogenic archaea in reindeer, revealing higher numbers than expected based on methane emission data available. Also, many of the reindeer archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences were similar to those reported in domesticated ruminants in Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand and Venezuela, supporting previous findings that there seems to be no host type or geographical effect on the methanogenic archaea community structure in ruminants.




By Monica A. Sundset
& Alexandra Kohn & Svein D. Mathiesen & Kirsti E. Præsteng.

Reindeer are able to eat and utilize lichens as an important source of energy and nutrients. In the current study, the activities of antibiotic secondary metabolites including usnic, antranoric, fumarprotocetraric, and lobaric acid commonly found in lichens were tested against a collection of 26 anaerobic rumen bacterial isolates from reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) using the agar diffusion method. The isolates were identified based on their 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene sequences. Usnic acid had a potent antimicrobial effect against 25 of the isolates, belonging to Clostridiales, Enterococci, and Streptococci. Isolates of Clostridia and Streptococci were also susceptible to atranoric and lobaric acid. However, one isolate (R3_91_1) was found to be resistant to usnic, antranoric, fumarprotocetraric, and lobaric acid. R3_91_1 was also seen invading and adhering to lichen particles when grown in a liquid anaerobic culture as  demonstrated by transmission electron microscopy. This was a Gramnegative, nonmotile rod (0.2–0.7×2.0–3.5 μm) with a deoxyribonucleic acid G+C content of 47.0 mol% and main cellular fatty acids including 15:0 anteiso-dimethyl acetal (DMA), 16:0 iso-fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), 13:0 iso-3OH FAME, and 17:0 anteiso-FAME, not matching any of the presently known profiles in the MIDI database. Combined, the phenotypic and genotypic traits including the 16S rRNA gene sequence show that R3_91_1 is a novel species inside the order Clostridiales within the family Lachnospiraceae, for which we propose the name Eubacterium rangiferina. This is the first record of a rumen bacterium able to tolerate and grow in the presence of usnic acid, indicating that the rumen microorganisms in these animals have adapted mechanisms to deal with lichen secondary metabolites, well known for their antimicrobial and toxic effects.

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By N

Nonlinear and irregular population dynamics may arise as a result of phase dependence and coexistence of multiple attractors. Here we explore effects of climate and density in the dynamics of a highly fluctuating population of wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) on Svalbard observed over a period of 29 years. Time series analyses revealed that density dependence and the effects of local climate (measured as the degree of ablation[melting] of snow during winter) on numbers were both highly nonlinear: direct negative density dependence was found when the population was growing (Rt . 0) and during phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) characterized by winters with generally high (1979– 1995) and low (1996–2007) indices, respectively. A growth-phase-dependent model explained the dynamics of the population best and revealed the influence of density-independent processes on numbers that a linear autoregressive model missed altogether. In particular, the abundance of reindeer was enhanced by ablation during phases of growth (Rt . 0), an observation that contrasts with the view that periods of mild weather in winter are normally deleterious for reindeer owing to icing of the snowpack. Analyses of vital rates corroborated the nonlinearity described in the population time series and showed that both starvation mortality in winter and fecundity were nonlinearly related to fluctuations in density and the level of ablation. The erratic pattern of growth of the population of reindeer in Adventdalen seems, therefore, to result from a combination of the effects of nonlinear density dependence, strong density-dependent mortality, and variable density independence related to ablation in winter.

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by N.J.C. Tyler, J.M. Turi, M.A. Sundset, K. Strom Bull, M.N. Sara, E. Reinert, N. Oskal, C. Nellemann , J.J. McCarthy, S.D. Mathiesen, M.L. Martello , O.H. Magga, G.K. Hovelsrud, I. Hanssen-Bauer, N.I. Eira, I.M.G. Eira, R.W. Corell

En generell sårbarhets-tilnærming ble anvendt i utformingen av en tverrfaglig og flerkulturell undersøkelse av faktorer av betydning for hvordan klimaendringer påvirker reindriften i Finnmark (Nord-Norge). Regionale og lokale (nedskalerte) klima-projeksjoner innbefatter scenarier som potensielt kan påvirke beiteforholdene for rein. Projeksjonene var ikke uten presedens. I løpet av de siste hundre årene har det vært flere større klimaendringer i Finnmark, tilsvarende det man forventer de neste 20-30 årene. Reindriftsfolkenes respons på endringer i natur- og sosio-økonomisk miljø har tradisjonelt vært avhengig av en fleksibel driftspraksis som nå undermineres på grunn av flere ikkeklimatiske faktorer. Redusert handlefrihet som følge av tap av habitat, utplyndring og forskjellige former for myndighetsutøvelse (særlig økonomiske og juridiske begrensninger) kan dempe virkningene man antar klimaendringer har på reindrift. Dette kan imidlertid også føre til at nye klimatiske forhold truer systemet på helt andre måter. Det er en kontinuerlig utfordring å utvikle metodologi for vurdering av sosio-økonomiske systemers tilpasningskapasitet, sårbarhet og fleksibilitet. Nøkkelen til løsningen er å anerkjenne urfolkenes viten og å integrere lokalbefolkningen i prosessen.

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Саамское пастбищное оленеводство и изменения климата: применение общих рамок изучения уязвимости к социально-экологическим системам субарктики

Обобщенные рамки уязвимости были использованы для систематизации междисциплинарного и межкультурного изучения факторов, влияющих на пути воздействия климатических изменений на пастбищное оленеводства в Финмарке (север Норвегии). Региональные и местные (масштабированные) климатические прогнозы включали сценарии, потенциально могущие повлиять на кормовые условия северного оленя. Ни один из прогнозов не был беспрецедентным: несколько случаев изменений климата Финмарка за последние 100 лет были, по крайней мере, так же значительны, как и прогнозируемые изменения на последующие 20-30 лет. Традиционные способы реакции оленеводов на изменения как природной, так и социально-экономической среды зависели от гибкости оленеводческой практики, которая в настоящее время нарушается несколькими неклиматическими факторами. Ограниченная свобода действий в результате потери пастбищ, хищничества и управленческих аспектов (особенно экономические и правовые ограничители) потенциально понижает предполагаемые воздействия прогнозируемых изменений климата на пастбищное оленеводство. Однако, это может также привести к ситуациям, когда новые климатические условия будут угрожать системе беспрецедентным образом. Разработка соответствующих методологий оценки адаптивной способности, уязвимости и устойчивости социально-экологических систем к глобальным изменениям остается насущной проблемой. Признание систем знаний Арктических культур и полное привлечение местного населения на всем протяжении процесса являются ключевыми компонентами решения этой проблемы. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

N.J.C. Tyler, J.M. Turi, M.A. Sundset, K. Strom Bull, M.N. Sara, E. Reinert, N. Oskal, C. Nellemann , J.J. McCarthy, S.D. Mathiesen, M.L. Martello , O.H. Magga, G.K. Hovelsrud, I. Hanssen-Bauer, N.I. Eira, I.M.G. Eira, R.W. Corell

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