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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Preservation of the cultural legacy of the indigenous Sami in northern forest reserves-Present shortcomings and future possibilities

Ostlund, Lars; Norstedt, Gudrun

Abstract

In Swedish Lappland, large national parks and nature reserves include forests with exceptional biodiversity values. While they are located in the ancient cultural landscapes of the indigenous Sami, this aspect has rarely been considered in the process of nature protection. In this study, we discuss how the preservation of Sami cultural values can be introduced and developed in forest reserves. We do this by reviewing recent research on the cultural legacy that the Sami have left in the boreal forest and discuss why so much of this legacy is found in the large areas of ecologically valuable forest that still exist in Lappland. We find that the Sami left deep imprints in the trees, in the forest structure, and in the archaeological record. We also find that the large forest reserves were created in the areas where the timber frontier arrived last, so they were less affected by both early actions of recurrent logging and by modern forestry. These forest reserves contain the ancient trees, the dead wood, and the disturbance regimes that favor biodiversity, and also a substantial Sami cultural legacy that has largely disappeared in the managed forest landscape. The preservation of this legacy is not without its challenges. We address the lack of inventory data, the poor collaboration between different authorities, and the general lack of involvement of the Sami communities; furthermore, we propose measures to overcome these shortcomings. If such measures are introduced, the value of the large and unique forest reserves of Swedish Lappland would be greatly enriched. The cultural legacies in forest dominated landscapes in northern Scandinavia is comparable to many other very northern or very southern regions in that they share a similar history of millennia of indigenous land use, with abrupt changes in modern time and also have large protected areas today.

Keywords

Culturally modified trees; CMT; Reindeer herding; Boreal forest; Domesticated landscapes; Sami

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2021, Volume: 502, article number: 119726Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119726

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/114133