Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-ndqjc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-24T16:55:48.040Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Detecting changes in the state of reindeer pastures in northernmost Finland, 1995–2005.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 November 2011

Alfred Colpaert
University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu Campus, Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, BOX 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland (
Jouko Kumpula
Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Reindeer research, Kaamanan, Finland


The state of pastures in the Finnish reindeer management area has been monitored since 1995 using remote sensing and field inventory. The first inventory was made in 1995–1996, updated in the beginning of 2000s and repeated in 2005–2008. By comparing results from 1995–1996 and 2005–2008 we can observe clear changes in forest cover, structure and ground lichen abundance. To evaluate pasture/vegetation changes on the basis of separate classifications we have used a grid approach. By implementing a 500 by 500 m grid network and summarizing pasture classes for every grid cell we can visualize and quantify intensity of change. By comparing 1995–1996 and 2005–2008 we can see a clear decrease in the number of cells classified old growth dominated forest, and also an increase of fragmentation can be detected. With a 7.5 ha threshold the amount of old growth forest was reduced by 5%, for 20 ha the decrease was 21%. This indicates a significant change in forest landscape structure, fragmentation and reduction of reindeer winter pasture value in large areas. Pixel wise comparison showed no substantial changes in pasture areas. There is a degree of uncertainty in change detection; changes in remote sensing instrument, changes in processing software and methodology, changes in field methods and ancillary data, and obviously also bias introduced by differences between analysts. When comparing reindeer lichen biomass between 1995–1996 and 2005–2008 on the basis of field site data, the measured lichen biomass has declined in 19 out of the 20 reindeer management districts. Only one district showed slight improvement, in three districts there was a notable drop in lichen biomass, from over 1500 kg/ha to about 500 kg/ha. Also amount of arboreal lichens declined due to felling of old growth forest, confirming the findings on the grid cell level. Consequently grass, shrub and sapling stands increased as felled areas start to grow graminoids and herbs.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Autio, J., and Heikkinen, O.. 2002. The climate of northern Finland. Fennia 180 (1–2): 6166.Google Scholar
Autio, J., and. Colpaert, A. 2005. The impact of elevation, topography and snow load damage of trees on the position of the actual timberline on the fells in central Finnish Lapland. Fennia 183 (1):1536.Google Scholar
Colpaert, A., Kumpula, J., and Nieminen, M.. 1995. Remote sensing, a tool for reindeer range land management. Polar Record 31 (177): 235244.Google Scholar
Colpaert, A., Kumpula, J., and Nieminen, M.. 2003. Reindeer pasture biomass assessment using satellite remote sensing, Arctic 56 (2): 147158Google Scholar
Earth Resource Mapping. 2000. ER Mapper 6.1 User guide. Perth, Australia: Earth Resource Mapping Ltd.Google Scholar
European Environment Agency. 2007. CLC2006 technical guidelines. Copenhagen: EEA (EEA technical report 17/2007).Google Scholar
Finnish Environment Institute. 2005. CLC 2000-Finland, final report, Helsinki: Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) Geoinformatics and Land Use Division (GEO). URL: Scholar
Finnish Environment Institute. 2009. CLC2006 Finland. Final technical report. Helsinki: Finnish Environment Institute. URL: Scholar
Finnish Meteorological Institue. 2011. Havaitut ilmastonmuutokset Suomessa [Observed climatic chages in Finland]. Helsinki: Finnish Meteorological Institute. URL: (accessed 09 May 2011).Google Scholar
Helle, T., Kilpelä, S.S., and Aikio, P. 1990. Lichen ranges, animal densities and production in Finnish reindeer management. Rangifer special issue 3:115121.Google Scholar
Johansen, B. 2004. Mountain vegetation mapping in Dovre area, Norway, using Landsat TM data and GIS. In: Ehlers, M., Kaufmann, H.J., and Michel, U. (editors). Remote sensing for environmental monitoring, GIS applications, and geology III. Proceedings of the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) 5239: 333–344.Google Scholar
Johansen, B., and Karlsen, S.R., 2002. Finnmarksvidda - changes in lichen cover 1987–2000. Rangifer Report 6: 6566.Google Scholar
Karlsen, S.R., Høgda, K.A., Wielgolaski, F.E., Tolvanen, A., Tømmervik, H., Poikolainen, J., and Kubin, E.. 2009. Growing-season trends in Fennoscandia 1982–2006, determined from satellite and phenology data. Climate Research 39: 275286.Google Scholar
Kumpula, J., Colpaert, A., and Nieminen, M., 2000. Condition, potential recovery rate and productivity of lichen (Cladina spp.) ranges in the Finnish reindeer management area. Arctic 53 (2): 152160.Google Scholar
Kumpula, J., Colpaert, A., Tanskanen, A., Anttonen, M., Törmänen, H., and Siitari, J.. 2006. Porolaidunten inventoinnin kehittäminen – Keski-Lapin paliskuntien laiduninventointi vuosina 2005–2006. [Improving reindeer pasture inventory – Central-Lapland pasture inventory 2005–2006]. Helsinki: Riistan-ja kalantutkimus (Kala-ja riistaraportteja 397) URL: Scholar
Kumpula, J., Tanskanen, A., Colpaert, A., Anttonen, M., Törmänen, H., Siitari, J., and Siitari, S. 2009. Poronhoitoalueen pohjoisosan talvilaitumet vuosina 2005–2008 – laidunten tilan muutokset 1990-luvun puolivälin jälkeen Winter pastures of the northern parts of thereindeer herding area 2005–2008 – pasture chnages since the second half of the 1990's). Helsiniki; Riista- ja Kalatalous, (Kalatalous – Tutkiimuksia 3). URL: Scholar
Mattila, E. 2010. Porojen laitumia koskevia pinta-alatuloksia poronhoitoalueen etelä- ja keskiosista laskettuna valtakunnan metsien 10. inventoinnin maastoaineistosta vuosilta 2005–2008. [Reindeer pastures of the central and southern herding reindeer herding area, based upon field data of the 10th national forest inventory 2005–2008] Helsinki: Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metlan työraportteja/Working papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 164). URL: Scholar
Moen, J., Danell, O., and Holt, R.. 2007. Non-destructive estimation of lichen biomass. Rangifer 27 (1): 4146.Google Scholar
Petzold, D.E., and Goward, S.N.. 1988. Reflectance spectra of subarctic lichens. Remote Sensing of Environment 24:481492.Google Scholar
Rees, W.G., Williams, M., and Vitebsky, P.. 2003. Mapping land cover change in a reindeer herding area of the Russian arctic using Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery and indigenous knowledge. Remote Sensing of Environment 85:441452.Google Scholar
Rees, W.G., Tutubalina, O.V., and Golubeva, E.I.. 2004. Reflectance spectra of subarctic lichens between 400 and 2400 nm. Remote Sensing of Environment 90:281292.Google Scholar
Tømmervik, H., Høgda, K.A., and Solheim, I.. 2003. Monitoring vegetation changes in Pasvik (Norway) and Pechenga in Kola Peninsula (Russia) using multitemporal Landsat MSS/TM data. Remote Sensing of Environment 85: 370388.Google Scholar
Tømmervik, H., Johansen, B., Tombre, I., Thannheiser, D., Høgda, K., Gaare, A.E., and Wielgolaski, F. E.. 2004. Vegetation changes in the nordic mountain birch forest: the influence of grazing and climate change. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 36 (3): 223332.Google Scholar
Tomppo, E., Haakana, M., Katila, M., Mäkisara, K., and Peräsaari, J.. 2009. The multi-source national forest inventory of Finland - methods and results 2005. Helsinki; Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metlan työraportteja/Working papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 111).Google Scholar