Reindeer husbandry has a substantial effect on the environment and particularly on the tundra ecosystem. It prevents bush and tree expansion into open tundra areas and therefore slows down the predicted change of open tundra to willow scrubland and forest.

– Tundra areas with low-growth vegetation remain covered in snow later into the spring than forests, as trees absorb solar radiation and speed up thawing. In contrast, snow covered treeless tundra reflects a larger share of the solar radiation back into space and prevents its incorporation into the Earth’s climate, thereby mitigating climate change, says Professor Lauri Oksanen from the University of Turku, the Scientific Leader of TUNDRA.

Reindeer husbandry region overlaps with other forms of land use such as tourism, mining and forestry. This calls for a versatile outlook on reindeer husbandry, where it is considered from the point of view of both nature and humans, including the valuable benefits for culture and ecosystems and emphasising sustainable land use.

Nordic Centre of Excellence TUNDRA provides scientific information that supports the adaptation of reindeer husbandry to changing climate and operational environment as well as the mitigation of climate change in the Arctic.

Original news story on the University of Turku website