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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Effects of mining on reindeer/caribou populations and indigenous livelihoods : community-based monitoring by Sami reindeer herders in Sweden and First Nations in Canada

Herrmann, Thora Martina; Sandström, Per; Cuciurean, Rick


This paper explores the effects of human disturbances associated with mine development in the Arctic on habitat and populations of reindeer/caribou (both Rangifer tarandus), and implications for reindeer husbandry and caribou hunting of indigenous Sami people in Sweden and First Nations in Canada. Through three case studies, we illustrate how Cree and Naskapi communities develop commu- nity-based geospatial information tools to collect field data on caribou migration and habitat changes, and how Sami reindeer herders use GIS to gather informa- tion about reindeer husbandry to better communicate impacts of mining on rein- deer grazing areas. Findings indicate impacts on the use of disturbed habitat by reindeer/caribou, on migration routes, and northern livelihoods. The three cases present novel methods for community-based environmental monitoring, with applications in hazards mapping and denote the active engagement of indigenous communities in polar environmental assessments, generating community-oriented data for land use management decisions. They also illustrate how technology can lead to better communication and its role for empowerment.


mining; disturbances; reindeer; caribou; Sami; First Nations; communitybased environmental monitoring; communication; local and landscape level

Published in

Polar Journal
2014, volume: 4, number: 1, pages: 28-51

Authors' information

Herrmann, Thora Martina
University of Montreal
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Cuciurean, Rick
Norick Research

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