Habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity due to human land-area pressure is internationally recognized as a main threat to the earth’s ecosystems and their ability to supply ecosystem services. A pressing task is to develop methods that can be used by management authorities to promote sustainable land use. The NRC-project PRODCHANGE (NRC project number: 255635) focus on how the habitat use and productivity of wild and semi-domesticated reindeer in Norway are affected by cumulative effects of habitat fragmentation and altered disturbance regimes. In northern Norway, the effect of new windfarms and opencast mines are of particular focus as these industrial activities are currently threatening the traditional reindeer herding industry. The methodological framework adopted is designed to allow ecological processes studied in detail in a selected set of reindeer populations, to be scaled up to predict consequences of altered land use on a nation-wide scale, and will also be highly relevant in terms of linking land management and the productivity of herbivore populations in other parts of the Arctic. Two important variables in the model development is the nutrient content of the vegetation and the snow conditions during the winter season. The project “Productivity effects in reindeer from changes in human land use – improving snow and vegetation map layers” will contribute to PRODCHANGE by 1) providing supplementary measurements of vegetation quality in habitat types available for reindeer populations, and 2) by generating improved snow maps. These contributions will improve the quality of the data available to PRODCHANGE and increase both the involvement of member institutions of the Fram Centre and international collaboration in PRODCHANGE.
NINA – Norsk institutt for naturforskning
Project manager: Audun Stien
Project code: 852018