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The challenge of modernity for reindeer management: Integration and sustainable development in Europe's sub-Arctic and boreal regions (RENMAN)

RENMAN will develop new tools and models of participatory research and planning in reindeer management that will facilitate integrated and sustainable use of living resources in sub-arctic/boreal Europe. RENMAN is a direct outgrowth of the participation of key partners in the project 'Human Environmental Interactions' in the European Union Concerted Action ARTERI, and the IASC workshop on the 'Human Role in Reindeer Systems'. The project involves rural stakeholders, via local workshops and interviews, in the process of research on topics they have helped to prioritise. The analyses will focus on human interactions (in particular indigenous vs. scientific perceptions of management and the transfer of expertise from the EU to Russian systems), the quality and hygienic status of summer pastures, soils and surface waters, and the implications for animal and human health. The findings will provide better cultural and scientific bases for EU policy implementation.

RENMAN aims to address fundamental questions regarding the sustainable utilisation of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in northernmost Europe in order to enhance the quality of life of local reindeer-herding communities and the appropriate management of living resources. Reindeer management is among the most important mutually competing uses of natural resources and the environment in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. It is also one of the oldest, most resilient forms of livelihood within the region. RENMAN therefore aims to establish an interdisciplinary mode of analysis for human-environmental interactions, which involves the people living in Europe's sub-arctic and boreal regions as integral components of the research process. In this view, rural human populations connected to reindeer management have a stake in the outcome of the research and its implications for EU environmental/agricultural policy. RENMAN proposes to use interviews and local workshops with reindeer herders to develop potential future scenarios and plans for reindeer management. Herders also participate in the selection of sites for concurrent biological field research on pasture management. The objective of this component of the project is to gauge the condition of summer pastures - vegetation, soils, and surface waters - in different countries and herding districts, from both indigenous and western science perspectives, so that western science can be better incorporated and more useful to regional management.

The project has provided valuable insights into the design of research and negotiation of policies, which will have a direct impact on local conditions, in particular prospects for securing an acceptable level of quality of living and the continuation of appropriate management regimes for the utilisation of living resources locally and regionally within the European context. By treating the user groups as equals in the design and implementation phases of the research, and valuing local or 'traditional' knowledge, the project has achieved a significant level of trust in the ongoing interaction between the scientists and the reindeer herders. As a result, herders enthusiastically endorsed the project and embraced its aims publicly various fora.


Scientist responsible for the project

Senior Scientist BRUCE FORBES
Pohjoisranta 4 Box 122
96101 Rovaniemi
Finland - FI

Phone: +358 16 3412710
Fax: +358 16 3412777


Project ID QLRT-1999-30745
Organisation Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
Area 5.5
Start date 01 February 2001
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 202 649 €
Total EC contribution   1 971 674 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project

The partners

  • New Bulgarian University, Institute for Anthropological Field Research, Bulgaria - BG
  • University of Tromsoe, Department of Social Anthropology, Norway - NO

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