On-going land use activities such as forestry, mining and wind power developments need better coordination with traditional reindeer herding activity. One case where RenGIS serves as a planning tool for herding community is a new high-speed train line along the coast in northern Sweden.

The river Vindelälven constitutes the backbone of Gran reindeer herding community movement route from the coastal winter grazing areas along the Bay of Bothnia to the mountainous summer grazing lands near the Norwegian border. Along the 400 km trek there are numerous obstacles to pass. The task in BuSK is to use our custom-made RenGIS to map the routes, communicate the obstacles and to propose creative solutions.

The Swedish contribution to the overall BuSK project aims at implementing, testing and improving the participatory GIS, RenGIS in a number of ongoing land use settings. All work is carried out in direct and close corporation with Gran reindeer herding community.

Gran Reindeer herding community (in red) is one of 51 reindeer herding communities in the reindeer husbandry area of Sweden (in gray). Gran stretch from the coast of the Bay of Bothnia to the mountains along the border to Norway. The area connects seasonal grazing lands spanning more than 400 km. As part of BuSK we have mapped the entire route as well as participated in the spring migration.

The traditional knowledge about the land and of the needs of the reindeer together with detailed mappings of all other land uses form the bases to our contribution towards better land use planning. Ongoing land use activities that need better coordination with reindeer husbandry include forestry, mining, wind power developments as well as new and existing infrastructure developments. One specific ongoing land use situation we are working on include incorporating the need of reindeer husbandry into the projection of the new high-speed train line from Umeå to Skellefteå and onward north. Together with members of Gran RHC we used RenGIS to digitize important seasonal habitat areas and reindeer movement paths that would be affected by the projected high speed train line.

Sami reindeer herders mappings of key habitat wintering areas (in red) and reindeer movement routes (in green) using RenGIS, constitute the bases for the delineation of eco ducts across the high-speed train line corridor (in pink) and across the E4 highway (thick black line). Such eco ducts are necessary for the continued use of essential costal key habitat areas.

Delineating and compiling the traditional knowledge of reindeer herders in Gran RHC expressed as detailed mappings in RenGIS provide input data to planning by the Swedish Transport Administration. Furthermore, RenGIS served as the communication tool for our results. The procedures developed together with Gran RHC have now also been implemented in neighboring RHCs and a preliminary plan for reindeer crossing (eco ducts) along the entire train line between Umeå and Skellefteå is presented to the Swedish Transport Administration. Additionally we mapped and proposed eco ducts across the parallel-run E4 highway. Other work using RenGIS to address ongoing land use case in Gran RHC include the area around the Kristineberg mine, municipal planning in Sorsele as well as for a number of specific forestry issues.

Per Sandström, Stefan Sandström and Gun Lidestav

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