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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Wolf and Bear Depredation on Livestock in Northern Sweden 1827–2014: Combining History, Ecology and Interviews

Axelsson Linkowski, Weronika; Kvarnström, Marie; Westin, Anna; Moen, Jon; Östlund, Lars


During the twenty-first century, large carnivores have increased in human dominated landscapes after being extinct or nearly extinct. This has resulted in increasing numbers of livestock killed by large carnivores. The intent of this paper is to give a land use-historical perspective on the recent livestock–carnivore conflict in boreal Sweden. More specifically we address: (1) depredation risks (livestock killed by carnivores) and (2) local knowledge of how to protect livestock from predation and whether it survived among pastoralists until the present. This study provides numeric information on carnivores, livestock and depredation, combined with oral information from summer farmers about livestock protection. We compare recent (since 1998) and historical (late nineteenth century) depredation rates in two Swedish counties. In Dalarna recent depredation rates are higher than historical rates while the opposite pattern is seen in Jämtland. Recent depredation rates in Dalarna are twice the recent rates in Jämtland, in contrast to the historical situation. Recent and historical depredation rates are of the same order. Summer farmers traditionally graze their livestock in forested areas where carnivores reside. Interviews show that traditional knowledge of how to protect livestock from carnivores was lost during the twentieth century, but recently new knowledge has developed leading to changes in summer farming practices. The carnivore–livestock situation today differs from the historical situation, not so much in levels of depredation, but mainly regarding the possibilities of farmers to face challenges associated with increasing carnivore populations.


carnivores; livestock depredation; wolves; bears; traditional knowledge; summer farms

Published in

2017, volume: 6, number: 3, article number: 63

Authors' information

Axelsson Linkowski, Weronika
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Biodiversity Centre
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Biodiversity Centre
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Biodiversity Centre
Moen, Jon
Umeå University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Social Anthropology

Publication Identifiers


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