The Economics and Land-Use Conflicts of Sámi Reindeer Herding in Finnmark: Exploring the Alternatives

This project is focusing on both the economics and land-use conflicts of reindeer herding in Finnmark. The overall aim is to provide new knowledge for the development of policy alternatives for improved economic output and reduced land-use conflicts.

01. Jan 2012 - 31. des 2015

The project site: Finnmark, Norway.


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


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

More about the project

The project proposes an interdisciplinary analysis of the reindeer sector based on a political ecology


Tor A Benjaminsen
Tor A Benjaminsen
Project manager

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)
  • Kathrine Ivsett Johnsen (PhD candidate, Norwegian University of Life Science/Noragric)