Internationsl Centre for Reindeer HusbandryASsociation of World Reindeer Herderssa-sucAbout Reindeer Husbandry
Working Package 3
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Principal Investigators: Prof. Ole Henrik Magga, Prof. Svein Mathiesen and Inger Marie Gaup Eira, Collaboration: Dr. Nancy Maynard, M.N.Sara. Herders: N.I.Eira, J.M.Turi, J.Magga

Objectives: To codify herders’ experience and perception of climate change, their coping mechanisms and their perception and assessment of risk associated with different coping options.

Data and Method: Herders’ knowledge related to climate change and variability is embedded in their specialised language and their herding practices.

It will be necessary to explore and articulate the appropriate Sámi terminology used for describing climate and snow conditions (for Work Package 1), climate and the effects of climate on forage and foraging conditions and herders’ coping responses to these effects and to construct equivalent terms/explanations in English.

Besides interviews, selected herders will be asked to log weather and snow conditions related to decision-making in herding weekly in winter for four years. The codification of herders’ knowledge and its integration with scientific data will be performed using techniques in semantic pragmatic linguistics appropriately modified and refined to the requirements of this study.


Tasks in the Work Package include a codification of herders’ concepts and methods for evaluation and prediction of the effects of weather, particularly in relation to the effects of snow on the availability of forage, on foraging conditions and on the value of different types of forage plants for reindeer. Another task will be the identification and characterisation of difficult events for reindeer herding in the historical record.

A final task will be a codification of a) snow and ice change characterizations, herders’ methods for risk analysis in response to variation in the natural environment, (b) herders’ methods for strategic adapting mechanisms in relationship to climatic variability and changes in the use of pastures and (c) herders’ views of the main opportunities for adaptation by the herding community in relation to different climatic scenarios.

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