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Doctoral thesis2017Open access

Managing mountains, past and present conditions for traditional summer farming and Sami reindeer husbandry in northern Scandinavia

Axelsson Linkowski, Weronika


Traditional land use and conditions for maintenance of biodiversity are often interlinked. When land use changes and ecosystems change as a result, there is a risk to loose both the traditional ecological knowledge and the biodiversity connected to this land use. This thesis focuses on traditional land use, summer farming and Sami reindeer husbandry, in the mountain areas of northern Scandinavia (mainly Sweden), in a historical and contemporary perspective. The overall aim is to contribute to the understanding of the conditions for the traditional land use in the Scandinavian (mainly Swedish) mountains, using the concepts of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and a historical-ecological perspective. Both summer farming and reindeer husbandry are under strong external pressure and face large challenges today. Some of these challenges are shared and some differ between the two types of northern pastoralism. Scandinavian summer farmers experience that different views on their land use from different authorities affect them negatively. The increasing populations of large carnivores also worry the summer farmers. Recent depredation rates are in fact of the same level as historically (around 1900). Interviews showed that traditional knowledge about protective measures had eroded during years without carnivores, but also that farming practices have changed recently and that new knowledge developed. Sami plant use has been studied historically, but information about Sami plant management of Angelica archangelica was not documented. We argue that Sami ecological knowledge should be used to ensure sustainable harvest methods. Today traditional reindeer husbandry faces severe problems due to the reduction of winter grazing land by different encroachments, most importantly from modern forestry. The negative effects are even larger since increasingly difficult winter conditions create a need for a wider range of good grazing areas. Traditional knowledge is essential in the herders´ daily work, but the usability of the knowledge is severely constrained by recent changes. In the future planning of an ecologically and socially sustainable mountain management it is necessary to work with traditional land users and integrate their traditional knowledge.


traditionell kunskap; Norra skandinavien; fäbodbruk; samisk renskötsel

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2017, number: 2017:80ISBN: 978-91-7760-050-3, eISBN: 978-91-7760-051-0Publisher: Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish university of Agricultural Sciences

    Associated SLU-program

    Sámi and reindeer husbandry related research
    SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Natural Sciences not elsewhere specified
    Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

    Permanent link to this page (URI)