Sami reindeer herding


This project is focusing on both the economics and land-use conflicts of reindeer herding in Finnmark. It proposes an interdisciplinary analysis of the reindeer sector based on a political ecology
approach. The overall aim is to provide new knowledge for the development of policy alternatives for improved economic output and reduced land-use conflicts. The research within the project will be conducted in a three year time span from 2012 to 2014.

Project Partners

  • Tor A. Benjaminsen (Norwegian University of Life Science/Noragric)
  • Anders Oskal (The International Center for Reindeer Husbandry, Kautokeino)
  • Hugo Reinert (Norwegian University of Life Science/Noragric)
  • Erik Reinert (The International Center for Reindeer Husbandry, Kautokeino)
  • Andrei Florin Marin (Norwegian University of Life Science/Noragric)
  • Hanne Svarstad (NINA)
  • One PhD candidate to be selected


  • Provide research-based policy alternatives to improve the economic output in reindeer herding and to reduce conflicts involving reindeer herders ( Primary objective)
  • Contribute to a new understanding of the economics of reindeer herding through a historical investigation of its political economy as well as of the value-chain of reindeer meat
  • Explain land-use conflicts involving Sámi reindeer herding through a focus on geographical conditions, climatic dynamics, actors, narratives, values and knowledge
  • Strengthen the co-operation between researchers and reindeer herders in both research and dissemination


  1. Conduct a historical political economy study of the reindeer sector in Norway and Finnmark in particular
  2. Analyze the value chain of reindeer meat from the birth of reindeer calves to the supermarket
  3. Present a proposal for how the reindeer meat value-chain can be better organized to increase production and revenues to producers
  4. Take an inventory of different types of land-use conflicts involving reindeer herding and an in-depth case study of one case of each conflict type
  5. Carry out narrative analyzes of how key actors perceive the economics of the reindeer sector as well as how conflicts are perceived by the actors involved
  6. Use repeat landscape photography to compare landscape changes over time as well as to compare indigenous and scientific knowledge through interviews with biologists and Reindeer owners who are familiar with the landscapes and can provide their interpretations of the changes observed
  7. Summarize and discuss all findings with herders and disseminate final results

Project site

Finnmark, Norway


  • Ten peer-reviewed articles to be published in relevant journals, two articles per work package (including three articles by the PhD candidate)
  • A submitted PhD thesis by the end of 2014
  • Illustrated coffee-table book on cultural landscapes and environmental changes in Finnmark
  • A series of three workshops (planning, mid-term and debriefing workshop) with all the partner institutions and local stakeholders such as reindeer herders (NRL), and the Reindeer herding Administration
  • Two op-eds in major Norwegian newspapers to present results during the project lifespan
  • A policy brief to outline concrete recommendations regarding policy options to be delivered to local and central authorities with interest in the area (Ministry of Agriculture, Reindeer Herding Administration, Ministry of Environment)
Published 1. December 2016 - 11:46 - Updated 23. May 2017 - 19:21