Reindeer herding is a traditional and, at the same time, a modern natural source of livelihood that supports living and culture of local population in remote districts in Northern Finland. Modern Reindeer husbandry produces healthy and tasty meat for consumption as well as significant income and well-being to reindeer herder families and people who are connected somehow to the reindeer husbandry by processing, marketing and selling of meat and other reindeer product or by tourism.
Reindeer and reindeer herding are also closely linked to the production of local handicrafts and tourism in Northern Finland.
Research supports a vital and profitable reindeer husbandry
Research aims to find ways for sustainable and vital reindeer herding system and to form a productive and profitable production chain. The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) monitors the number, condition and usability value of reindeer pastures. Changes in the state of the pasture environment and causes for these changes are studied.
In co-operation with the Finnish Environment Institute Luke is building up a spatial database for reindeer husbandry and related tools for using this database by different stakeholders. This data can be used when planning different operations in reindeer herding, forestry and other land use in a way which support more sustainable land and pasture use.
Luke studies in which way pastures, environment, reindeer herding methods (such as feeding and slaughtering practices of reindeer) and predators affect productivity of reindeer herding or condition of reindeer. Luke also carries or take part research subjects related to the breeding, behaviour, genetics and evolutionary ecology of reindeer.