Finland on the right path to the future reindeer husbandry
Reindeer husbandry in Finland is on the right track. Conservation of biodiversity, different interests in land use and sustainable, future reindeer pasturing – everything is included in the plan that a working group has put together. This was presented and discussed at a webinar arranged by NKJ on Tuesday 9 May.
Svensk text längre ner
Sirviö Tapani, chairman of the working group, was the first speaker at the webinar. He spoke about the goal of the working group to bring together authorities, reindeer husbandry practitioners, researchers and nature conservation organizations to take part in a dialogue. It turned out to be a fruitful dialogue, that resulted in eight goals for the future.
The eight goals were presented on the webinar by Sirpa Rasmus, the reporting secretary in the working group.
1 The first point deals with the reindeer grazing species-specific management and utilization plans for the reindeer pastures that have been developed, that are being tested in pilot trials in 2023. The working group suggests listening to the experiences from the trials, and proceeding with the plans as they are formulated today. A reduction in the number of reindeer by 7% is considered by the working group to be sufficient to prevent grazing pressure from becoming too heavy.
2 The working group believe it is important to develop a producer organization in order to strengthen the bargaining power of reindeer husbandry on the market, and thereby increase the possibilities for good profitability.
3 Climate change affects reindeer husbandry. The legislation that provides compensation for losses in connection with extreme weather needs to be developed, as well as the industry’s own tools to reduce the effects of weather- and environmental conditions, as well as animal diseases.
4 Today’s price and operational support should be changed to a support that is not linked to production volume, to become an income transfer for the producer. This needs to be further investigated and a new system introduced by way of a transition period.
5 Reindeer herding is a living part of the cultural heritage of the local communities in the reindeer herding area, and is strongly linked to the language and other culture of the indigenous people. The proposal is to investigate through research whether the current support system fulfills its purpose.
6 A foundation could function as a tool to simultaneously secure the reindeer’s habitat and maintain and strengthen a diverse mountain nature. The two interests often coincide.
7 Land use issues become more and more tangible and create conflicts. Therefore, active work must be done to create dialogue between the parties that are affected.
8 Monitoring and observation systems are important for reindeer husbandry to be able to adapt to new conditions.
Another issue touched upon by the working group is predator management. This was also an issue that was raised in the discussion by the participants of the webinar. The working group thinks it is necessary to find models for how to avoid predator damage to reindeer, while following the plans for the management of the predator tribes that exist. Reindeer management, land use, but also the examination of the damage and the estimation of the predator strains can be developed in this respect.
Sirpa Rasmus presentation
Rennäringen i Finland är på rätt väg. Bevarande av den biologiska mångfalden, olika intressen av markanvändning och ett hållbart, framtida renbete – allt ryms i planen som en arbetsgrupp har lagt upp. Detta framkom vid ett webbinarium arrangerat av NKJ tisdagen 9 maj.
Sirviö Tapani, ordförande för arbetsgruppen, inledde webbinariet genom att berätta om hur arbetsgruppen har velat sammanföra myndigheter, rennäring, forskare och naturvårdsorganisationer i en dialog. Det blev en fruktbar dialog, som också ledde arbetsgruppen fram till åtta mål för framtiden.
De åtta målen presenterades på webbinariet av Sirpa Rasmus, rapporteringssekreterare i arbetsgruppen.
1 Den första punkten handlar om de renbeteslagsspecifika skötsel- och nyttjandeplaner för renbetesmarkerna som tagits fram, och också testas i pilotförsök under 2023. Arbetsgruppen föreslår att man lyssnar till erfarenheterna från försöken, och går vidare med planerna så som de är formulerade idag. En minskning av antalet renar med 7% anser arbetsgruppen räcker för att betestrycket inte ska bli för stort.
2 Arbetsgruppen tycker att det är viktigt att utveckla en producentorganisation för att stärka rennäringens förhandlingskraft på marknaden, och därmed öka möjligheterna för en god lönsamhet.
3 Klimatförändringarna påverkar rennäringen. Lagstiftningen som ger ersättning vid förluster i samband med extremt väder behöver utvecklas, liksom näringen egna verktyg för att minska effekterna av väder- och naturförhållanden och djursjukdomar.
4 Dagens pris- och insatsstöd bör förändras till ett stöd som inte är kopplat till produktionen, för att bli en inkomst för producenten. Detta behöver utredas och ett nytt system införas via en övergångsperiod.
5 Renskötseln är en levande del av lokalsamfundens kulturarv i renskötselområdet, och är starkt kopplad till ursprungsfolkets språk och övriga kultur. Förslaget är att genom forskning utreda om det nuvarande stödsystemet fyller sitt syfte.
6 En stiftelse skulle kunna fungera som ett verktyg för att samtidigt trygga renarnas livsrum och upprätthålla och stärka en mångsidig fjällnatur. De båda intressena sammanfaller ofta.
7 Markanvändningsfrågor blir mer och mer påtagliga och skapar konflikter. Därför måste ett aktivt arbete göras för att skapa dialog mellan de parter som påverkas.
8 Övervaknings- och observationssystem är viktiga för att rennäringen ska kunna anpassa sig till nya förhållanden.
En annan fråga som berörts av arbetsgruppen är rovdjurshanteringen. Det var också en fråga som deltagarna på webbinariet tog upp till diskussion. Arbetsgruppen tycker att det är nödvändigt att hitta modeller för hur rovdjursskador på ren ska undvikas, samtidigt som man följer de planer för hanteringen av rovdjursstammarna som finns. Renskötseln, markanvändningen, men också granskningen av skadorna och uppskattningen av rovdjursstammarna kan utvecklas i det här avseendet.
Webinar: Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland
NKJ report on challenges for reindeer husbandry in the Nordic region
Recently, NKJ arranged a conference on challenges for reindeer husbandry in the Nordic region. The conclusions from the conference and an overall view of the state of reindeer husbandry in the Nordic countries are now available in a report.
The topic of the 2022 conference was challenges to reindeer husbandry, in particular the impact of predators, as well as consequences of a changing climate in Sweden, Finland and Norway. The conference contained four parts: Part 1: Loss of reindeer to predators, Part 2: Governance, Part 3: Ongoing research projects and Part 4: Reindeer husbandry in a changing climate. The report gives a summary of the presentations and discussions in each part.
The report also gives a long list of key take-aways from the conference. The importance of synthesis between traditional and scientific knowledge is one of the twelve points in the list. Download the report (below) to see all of the messages the participating researchers, authorities, organisations and stakeholders underline.
The Nordic Conference on Reindeer Husbandry was arranged 9-10 November 2022 at NIBIO Svanhovd, Pasvik, Norway.
Here are the projects that will create our future food
Nordic food has achieved new milestones: four projects were granted funding in the New Nordic Food latest call.
1 Food as a pedagogical tool is a project addressing the challenge of sustainable eating habits as it is strongly connected to climate change, biodiversity loss, resilience of Nordic communities, low food self-sufficiency and loss of traditional knowledge. It also address teachers need of relevant and updated educational material and methods on sustainable food production and consumption.
This will be achieved by gathering, co-creating with pupils and testing food education models for schools (pupils ages 12-16) were school meals, food and route of food function as a practical pedagogical tool.
The project is a part of the bigger project Food education for future (FeFF), which aims to increase teachers’ and municipal employees’ knowledge of sustainable food and how an increased degree of self-sufficiency of food can be an adaptation to counteract climate change and support resilience in Nordic areas.
2 Building a New Nordic Food and sustainability program is a program with the long-term objectives to ensure an increased focus on sustainability and New Nordic Food within UWC Red Cross Nordic as a showcase for other similar schools and actors. The three primary short-term objectives of the project are to
1) Change the culinary profile of the school food into a Nordic Food and sustainable profile
2) Increase students’ knowledge and capacity regarding local foods and sustainability
3) Bring the knowledge from the project into humanitarian work with young people attending Red Cross ‘summer camps’ and students from ‘lejrskoler’ located at the UWC RCN campus.
3 Ungdommens Madmøde is a part of the bigger project Madens Folkemøde, which is a recurring event regarding food and food systems including among other things, master classes, workshops and food experiences. Now it is wanted to also include the children and youth in the event and this is to be done by the project Ungdommens Madmøde.
The hope is to create a platform for experts, teachers and institutions who are working with healthy, sustainable and locally produced food to children in the Nordic countries and at the same time involve children in the activities of the event. The objectives of the project are to
1) Create a Nordic Youth Food Meeting that practices the natural and culinary community that is Nordic food. And thereby show how positive experiences can involvechildren in a sustainable, Nordic food culture.
2) Create a – preferably an annually recurring – Nordic symposium to develop food experiences for children and how food for children is part of the major social challenges.
3) Increase public interest in the societal goals that can be achieved by working with prevalence and quality and Nordic ideals in public meals for children.
4 Seminar på Røros (Norge) om «terroir» og lokale smaker knyttet til nordiske melkeprodukter is a project which aims to create a Nordic arena for the exchange of expertise and knowledge between the professional community, business, educational institutions and future farmers and employees in the industry.
This is done by arranging a seminar at the dairy Rørosmeieriet. Rørosmeieriet is the largest dairy in Norway which produces organic milk and milk products and the place where it is located, Røros, is an important area for locally produced food and food products.
OPEN CALL: soil health and agroecology
Soil health is fundamental for a sustainable agriculture. Even more so in a future with a warmer climate. Therefore, NKJ announces funding for networks that can bring the issue to the future.
You can apply for funding for networking activities for researchers and stakeholders in soil health and agroecology. NKJ will fund networks for two years with at most 300.000 SEK. Network grants are from August 2023 to April 2025.
Apply at the latest April 1st – you are welcome with your application today!
The focus area of this call is soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and the upcoming call in Horizon Europe. Living labs are research and innovation arenas which are user-centred, place-based and transdisciplinary. The involvement of partners from research, farming, forestry etc., policy makers and other stakeholders will ensure the co-design of systemic research, testing, monitoring, evaluation, adoption and spreading of solutions.
The aim of the call is to promote Nordic collaboration between researchers from agricultural and food sectors by networking activities including workshops, conferences and seminars. Transdisciplinary networks between researchers and stakeholders are encouraged.
NKJ networks should include applicants from research institutions from at least three different countries in the Nordic region. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate but cannot be the main applicant. PhD students and young researchers should be included in the network.
Men and women must be represented by a minimum of 40% each of the participants in the network. NKJ also encourages persons with other gender orientations to participate.
Call text with all information you need (Word)
The purpose of NKJ networking:
- Facilitate collaboration between researchers in the Nordic countries by networking activities.
- Interlink research projects initiated in the Nordic region
- Increase synergies in agriculture and food sector research in the Nordic countries
- Bridge gaps between research and practice.
- Encourage Nordic researchers and institutions to apply for funding from larger funds like e.g. Horizon Europe.
PhD course in Aarhus: “Applied methods in crop physiology”
The NKJ funded network NordCrop will arrange a new PhD course in March. The focus will be applied methods in crop physiology.
The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to measurements of plant processes. The students should after the course be able to select and develop suitable methods for measuring and analysing data in their PhD work. The course will provide smoking hot knowledge and an overview of the current status of physiological measurement problems. Both new and emerging technologies will be presented.
The week will contain both lectures and hands on practice.
The course will be held in English. Requirements are relevant courses in crop physiology from MSc level.
The dates are 27-31 March 2023. Read more and registration here (at the latest Febr 1st).
Join the TARANDUS workshop on reindeer and feeding related diseases
Welcome to the 4th TARANDUS workshop in Norway 7-8 March 2023. Find full program here, and more information here!
“Feeding related diseases and other threats to reindeer populations” is the title of the fourth workshop within the TARANDUS network. Read about the three previous ones.
The event will take place in Norway on 7-8th of March 2023. The venue is the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel. More information is available here. The workshop will also be livestreamed in Teams.
Target group for this workshop are reindeer researchers, veterinarians, particularly those working in the reindeer herding regions, and other stakeholders focusing on reindeer husbandry and climate change adaptation.
The registration is closed, but it’s still possible to attend online. Program is available here. If you have questions about the TARANDUS network membership and activities, please send an email to Anna (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The workshop will be coordinated by UiT the Arctic University of Norway and the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, in cooperation with the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden.
Concrete tools for checking the health of soil
Researchers have gathered science based information from different Nordic countries in a manual on how to check out the health of soil with low-tech methods, readily available and easy to use for farmers and others. The researchers also provide strategies for improving soil health.
During 2021-2022 researchers gathered in the network “Nordic Network on soil health” (NetSH). They shared research, knowledge and experiences on how to improve and sustain soil health in Nordic agricultural soils. They shared the most relevant low-tech methods for evaluating soil health with each other and in workshops.
Healthy soil functions are important for healthy soil-plant ecosystems on the farms, so strategies for farmers to improve and sustain soil functions, soil structure and soil biology have been in focus.
NetSH also held an open webinar, “Soil health in the Nordic region”, that gained a lot of attention with 130 participants. In addition to this, there were two online meetings and one on-soil workshop arranged by the network.
MANUALS: How to check your soil?
Methods to evaluate soil health on farms has been demonstrated to make them available to as many as possible. Assessment of soil structure, soil compaction, root growth and soil biology has been discussed in the network and knowledge has been exchanged.
The most important tool is the spade combined with sensory evaluations, including pressing soil clumps between your fingers to evaluate how easily they brake and checking the smell of the soil in different depths.
The manuals are available in four Nordic languages:
• Danish: Tjek jordens sundhed
• Finnish: MARA Maan rakenteen aistinvarainen arviointi (2019) – Avointen oppimateriaalien kirjasto (aoe.fi) and Peltomaan laatutesti, Microsoft Word – Peltomaan_laatutesti_Havainto_ohjeet2.doc (proagria.fi)
These methods give a high score to soils with good structure with raisin shaped (rounded and porous) soil aggregates, deep and well growing plant roots, how easily the soil clumps brake, not to hard soil pans and the presence of several pink (inside) root noodles on legume roots and some earthworms in the soil. A healthy soil should relatively fast decompose organic matter, have some dark brown to black color due to organic matter content and have a smell of different fungi, like forest soils. All these methods include focus on comparing soil samples taken with a spade and to visualize and discuss soil functions and soil health with the farmers.
Compacted soil – a common Nordic problem
In the Nordic region we all experience the most severe soil problems in vegetable and cereal production. Much of this can be linked to soil compaction, with a very hard pan (zone) just below the tillage depth. But also in grass production there are soil structural and drainage challenges. In many cereal fields and some grass fields the straw and plant residues decompose very slowly or almost not at all.
In the Nordic region the soil types range from organic (peat) agricultural soils with more than 40 % soil organic matter to different mineral soils with low content of organic matter. In some areas the content of soil organic carbon (SOC) is creeping under 1,5 % (= 3 % soil organic matter SOM) which often is highlighted as a critical lower limit to several soil functions. In our Nordic cool conditions, we discussed that the content have to be higher than this for the soil to function well.
Some strategies to improve soil health
A selection of strategies to improve soil health in the Nordic region as discussed in the Network-meetings and on the workshop is listed here. The order of the key words is not ranked.
How to improve soil biology? Input of plant residues and other organic material, better crop rotations and plant diversity, enough water and oxygen in the soil, increase the content of SOM if it is very low.
How to improve aggregate stability? Ley (grass/clover) in the crop rotation, green plants most of the year, use of animal manure and compost, and liming with limestone or natural gypsum.
How to avoid soil compaction and improve soil structure? Lowering tire load and tire pressure and not driving on wet soil. Use a mixture of cover crops, sub crop in cereal and when deep tillage is used, sow plants immediately.
How to improve the decomposition rate of straw and plant residues in the soil? Cover crops, cut the material before incorporation, check for drainage problems. Oxygen and gas exchange very important for decomposition. Improve soil structure.
How to loosen a hard ploughing pan? Crop rotation + mechanically subsoiling, alfa alfa 2 years and animal manure/sludge.
In agricultural organic (peat) soil the aim should be to reduce carbon losses, instead of trying to increase the carbon content. Improve the soil structure from above, not plowing organic material to deep.
Let the spade become your friend
The Nordic farmer should use the spade to check their soils and a more diverse crop rotation as a start to improve soil health. Focus on soil structure and year around green plant cover will be useful in a future with a more unstable climate, with more heavy rains and droughts.
Network – Sustain Nordic soil health (NetSH)
Reidun Pommeresche, Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture (NORSØK) email@example.com
Join the webinar on sustainable food systems
The NKJ funded network “The role of Nordic research in transition to sustainable agro-marine food systems” is arranging a webinar on sustainable food systems January 24, 2023.
The webinar is entitled “How do Nordic research institutions approach sustainability in the food systems? Experiences from research and education”. It aims to start an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder dialogue among the partner universities and other relevant institutions on the role of Nordic research in transition to sustainable agro-marine food systems. The seven Nordic universities will share their experiences and practices. Discussion and comments are welcome!
Invitation 1 (QR code for registration)
13.20-13.30 Aarhus University
13.30-13.40 Agricultural University of Iceland
13.40-13.50 University of Faroe Islands
13.50-14.00 University of Iceland
14.00-14.10 Ruralia Institute
14.10-14.20 SIFO OSLOMET
Urszula Ala-Karvia, firstname.lastname@example.org