COMPARATIVE ETHNO-ECOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TRADITIONAL REINDEER HERDING ON KOLA AND YAMAL PENINSULAS
References: 3rd International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2016, www.sgemsocial.org, SGEM2016 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-77-3 / ISSN 2367-5659, Aug 24-31, 2016, Book 3 Vol. 2, 31-38pp, DOI: 10.5593/SGEMSOCIAL2016/B32/S08.005
The target of the investigation was the comparative analysis of conditions determining the dynamics and sustainability of reindeer herding in two Arctic regions – Kola and Yamal peninsulas – based on the authors’ field studies (2010-2014) and official statistic data.
In the 1960s the reindeer stock on Kola and Yamal was commeasurable (74,200 and 103,100 in 1961), however, for the next half a century the difference increased. In 2014 in these regions there were, correspondingly, 54,900 and 293,600 of reindeer. We tried to clear out what it is connected with.
Although reindeer husbandries on Kola and Yamal peninsulas have much in common (big herds, long summer-winter migrations from North to South, orientation on meat production), they have also a number of important differences. On Yamal nomadic Nenets herders migrate with their families all year round. Herds are controlled and managed continuously. The majority of reindeer are owned by nomadic families. On Kola peninsula herders’ families live in settlements. The reindeer’s grazing system is a combination of the Nenets herd management with the Saamies tradition of free (non-restricted) summer pasturing. As distinct from Yamal, fences are used here. 90% of reindeer are publicly owned, and only 10% belong to herdsmen.
The main threat to reindeer herding on Yamal is the lack of pastures and their exhaustion caused by overgrazing and land transfer for the needs of gas extraction industry. Besides, Yamal is crossed with pipe-lines and railways, which are a serious problem for migrating herds. In some winters, when ice crust was formed, dozens thousand reindeer died because of the lack of pasture reserves.
On Kola peninsula the main pasture range is located away from industrial areas. However, poaching and disturbance of reindeer by snowmobiles are really serious problems here. Another, even more important problem is recruiting young herdsmen.
The results of the study allowed to reveal three main reasons for the differences between the trends in Yamal and Kola reindeer herding. The first advantage of Yamal reindeer herding is a kind of symbiosis of private reindeer owners with municipal reindeer herding enterprises, the second one is the Nenets cultural tradition, according to which reindeer number is the main social measure of welfare, and the third one is 1000 nomadic herders’ families which preserve herding traditions and have many children who on growing become reindeer herders.
Key words: indigenous peoples, Arctic, reindeer husbandry, industrial impact, reindeer pastures
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