AL1 Reindeer herds

  This is a pressure (P) indicator. DPSIR = drivers, pressures, state, impact, responses.
>> Background information



The sizes of reindeer herds in the 12 northernmost herding co-operatives were at their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At that time, reindeer numbers were commonly higher than the maximum allowed number set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Since the early 1990s, the number of reindeer has stabilized being approximately 70 000 individuals.

The maximum allowed number of reindeer per herding co-operative has been re-examined and lowered in 1997, 1998 and 2000. During the past five years the number of reindeer alive has been approximately 4 percentage points greater than the maximum allowed in the 12 northernmost herding co-operatives.

The average reindeer density in northern Lapland has been about 2.4 reindeer per square kilometer in the first decade of the 2000s. In 2011 and 2012 the reindeer density has been 2.5?2.6. Reindeer densities differ however between herding co-operatives. In 2012 the density was lowest in the herding co-operative Hammastunturi, and highest in Vätsäri and Näkkälä.


Impact on biodiversity

Grazing affects the vegetation of reindeer pastures. Reindeer grazing is selective which means that it affects some species more than the others and thus changes the plant community structure. Heavy grazing also has eroding effects on ground coverage. For the effects of reindeer grazing on lichen pastures, see also AL4.


This indicator is updated annually in April-May  

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