Abstract [en]

Carl Österlin, doktorsavhandling
Carl Österlin, doktorsavhandling

The 14th Swedish national environmental objective, ‘a Magnificent Mountain Landscape’, requires a mountain landscape characterized by reindeer grazing. The Swedish mountains landscape, part of the Scandes, has been shaped by traditional indigenous Sámi reindeer herding and its grazed environments are dependent on reindeer. In spite of this, the mountain region is often referred to as the last wilderness in Europe. Twenty years since its adoption the aims of this environmental objective for the Swedish mountains is still not achieved. Sweden is internationally often seen as a frontrunner for environmental ambitions, but formal indigenous rights remain relatively weak. In the case of the Magnificent Mountain Landscape objective, the environmental ambitions are dependent on the continuation of a traditional indigenous livelihood and land use based on reindeer herding. While the mountain objective explicitly focus on the mountain area the attainment of the objective is dependent on developments in the whole reindeer grazing area that encompasses vast areas outside the Scandes. Reindeer herding is, however, under increasing pressure from multiple anthropogenic pressures like climate change and encroachments from various types of natural resource extraction on traditional grazing grounds. Land use planning that ensure the continuation of a viable reindeer herding in the whole reindeer herding landscape, not only the mountain areas proper, is therefore essential if the Magnificent Mountains Landscape objective is to be achieved. The thesis is guided by three main research questions: 1/ how have multiple pressures developed in the reindeer herding area in northern Sweden, 2/ how has Sámi participation in land use planning unfolded in northern Sweden, and 3/ what possibilities/conditions are there in place to maintain/sustain the environmental state in the Swedish mountain region given current multiple pressures and planning processes? Based on a transdisciplinary systems approach as well as on quantitative and qualitative methods the results show that stressing weather events have increased in the reindeer herding area, alongside with rapid and significant increase in industrial land use for natural resource extraction. The actual process of rapidly increasing, as well as cumulative, industrial land use also reduce the ability for Sámi reindeer herding communities to influece land use planning. Meanwhile the cumulative effects assesssments for proposed industrial projects poorly describe cumulative effects on reindeer herding. Protected areas in the mountain region that should be requesting the ecosystem services of reindeer grazing also unsufficiently do so because of a too dominant view of its nature as a wilderness, with the implication that reindeer herding is less valued in nature conservation management. If the ambitious environmental objectives for the Swedish mountain range are to be reached it also means that the continuation of traditional Sámi reindeer herding needs to be safeguarded in the whole reindeer herding area, also outside the mountains.

Disputation

2020-10-23, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14 and digitally via Zoom. Stockholm, 13:00 (Engelska). Public link: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/65793078875

Opponent

Emanuelsson, Urban, Professor

Handledare

Stjernquist, Ingrid, Dr.

Schlyter, Peter, Dr.

Eriksson, Camilla, Dr.