Changes in reindeer population numbers in Russia: an effect of the political context or of climate?
Keywords:atmospheric circulation, domesticated reindeer, households, indigenous peoples, post-Soviet, reforms, reindeer enterprises, reindeer husbandry, reindeer populations, Russia, taiga, trends of reindeer numbers, tundra
AbstractThis paper analyses trends in domesticated reindeer numbers at the federal, regional, and local levels based on official statistics and interviews with herders in different northern districts across Russia. During the second half of the last century, the domesticated reindeer population in Russia shifted dramatically from a maximum of 2.5 million head to a minimum of 1.2. The most important trends were connected to changes in social and economic conditions linked to government directives. Post-Soviet reforms in the 1990s resulted in a nearly 50% reduction in the total number of domesticated reindeer. However in some regions, these political events had the opposite effect. The contrast was due to the abilities of herders to adapt to the new conditions. A detailed analysis of these adaptations reveals an important difference between reindeer-holding enterprises with common ownership (i.e. kolkhozes, sovkhozes, municipal enterprises, etc.) and households with family owned reindeer. The paper concludes that the effect the political context is so large as to conceal the impact of other natural factors on reindeer populations such as climate change. However, a gradual increase of reindeer populations in the north-eastern part of Russia in the 1960s can be associated with changes in atmospheric circulation patterns.
How to Cite
Authors retain copyright and grant Rangifer irrevocable and non-exclusive right of publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). This means, among other things, that anyone is free to copy and distribute the content, as long as they give proper credit to the author(s) and the journal. For further information, see Creative Commons website for human readable or lawyer readable versions.