Tuesday, 23 November 2010 10:56 Written by Jonni Skoglund, Sámiradio
Original article here
The consistency of snow has changed over the last twenty years. Observations at the Abisko Scientific Research Station in northern Sweden show that today’s snow contains more ice than before. This has created problems for reindeer owners, among others.
Alf Johansen, reindeer herder in Finnmark in north Norway is forced to feed his reindeer more often now to survive the winter. He points to two leading causes: stronger winds that create hard-packed snowdrifts which destroy the grazing land and mild periods in winter.
“Periods of mild temperatures combined with frost create ice. We know what that means. The reindeer will not graze,” Johansen says.
The consistency of snow has been measured at the Abisko Scientific Research Station since the 1960s. Researchers at Uppsala University have analysed the material and the results show that the amount of ice in the snow has increased from five to ten per cent.
“There are more layers of ice in the snow and we see in particular that the ice on the ground surface has increased considerably,” remarks Cecilia Johansson, meteorologist at Uppsala University.
The Uppsala scientists believe that this is because the average annual temperature has increased. “Winter temperatures are rising and this enables ice layers to form in the snow,” explains Cecilia Johansson.
For reindeer herder Alf Johansen this is disastrous. “Ice forms on the ground in periods with a milder temperature and this causes the reindeer to stop grazing.”
, November 5th 2010
Original article here
Some measures will target Saami herders.
Changes in Finland are expected in the system of public supports for reindeer herding to help the younger generation take over operations from their parents.
The government is proposing a package of measures that will also help more young people start their own businesses.
In addition to support already made available to reindeer herders, young people will be able to apply for money to expand their herds and to purchase equipment, such as snowmobiles.
Supports will be more regionally focused, as well, with measures targeted at helping Saami.
Further south, special funds will be made available for fencing off cultivated fields and fencing in some grazing lands.
The terms and conditions to qualify to receive public supports for setting up a reindeer herding operation will remain the same.
Those include making it a full-time job, based on one’s own farm. However, the proposed package will raise the present funding of around two million euros a year by several hundred thousand euros.