Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (2.8 MB)

Title: A reindeer herder's perspective on caribou, weather and socio-economic change on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.

Author: Rattenbury, Kumi; Kielland, Knut; Finstad, Greg; Schneider, William;

Date: 2009

Source: Polar Research. 28: 71-88

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Nonclimate variables shape vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change. Here, we describe how recent environmental and socioeconomic developments have transformed reindeer herding and perceptions of weather on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. The reindeer industry has shrunk considerably since the early 1990s, when the winter range of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd expanded, and over 17,000 reindeer mixed with migrating caribou and left the region. Socioeconomic and environmental repercussions make the continuation of herding tenuous, and erode the ability of herders to cope with weather variability, among other perturbations. We present a case study of one herder's annual cycle, and juxtapose physical drivers of herding activities, including weather-station and herder observations of local weather variability, with socioeconomic factors. There is an increased urgency to access and monitor reindeer with caribou present, but herding plans are constrained by lower economic returns and the need to spend more time in nonherding jobs. Although weather is a greater concern now for immediate herd access, standard weather data are largely irrelevant to the mechanics of herding, whereas variables pertaining to the timing of biotic events (e.g., synchrony of spring break-up and calving) and visibility are attributed to lost herding opportunities. Short-term responses to weather conditions stem from more long-term vulnerability associated with caribou presence, reduced herd size, difficulties affording snowmobile maintenance or crew assistance, and dwindling market opportunities. We emphasize the environmental and socioeconomic interactions that affect vulnerability and adaptive capacity for modern herding.

Keywords: Alaska, climate change, Rangifer tarandus, reindeer, reindeer herding, weather

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Rattenbury, K.; Kielland, K.; Finstad, G.; Schneider, W. 2009. A reindeer herder's perspective on caribou, weather and socio-economic change on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Polar Research. 28: 71-88.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.