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.

Download report

See the recorded presentations from the conference

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.


What is New Nordic Food?

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)

Call text (PDF)

Application form

NKJ strategy

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!


Photo: Javier Sánchez Romano, UiT the Arctic University of Norway.

“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 (anna.omazic@sva.se).

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.

Lars Munkholm (Aarhus University) and Annette Vestergaard (SEGES) demonstrating ”Tjek jordens sundhed”, the Danish variant of soil health evaluation on the workshop in Norway (NIBIO Apelsvoll) in June 2022.
Photo: Reidun Pommeresche, NORSØK

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:

• Norwegian: Jordlappen

• 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)

• Swedish: Hur mår min jord?

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.

A selection of different low-cost methods showed under the NetSH workshop to visualize and discuss different aspects of soil health, like soil structure, aggregate stability and soil biology. Photo: Sissel Hansen/Reidun Pommeresche, NORSØK


 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.

Mineral soil:
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.

Peaty soil:
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.

Some of the participants in the network Sustain Nordic soil health (NetSH) from the workshop June 20-21 2022 in Norway. From left to right in front: Reidun Pommeresche (NORSØK, network leader), Sissel Hansen (NORSØK), Mika Tähtikarhu (Luke), Henrik Vestergaard Poulsen (SEGES), Lars J. Munkholm (Aarhus University), Åsa Myrbeck (RISE), Pirjo Kivijärvi (Luke), Tatiana Rittl (NORSØK) and Mette Thomsen (NIBIO). 2. row from left to right: Franziska Fischer (NIBIO), Till Sehusen (NIBIO). 3. row from right to left: Randi B. Frøseth (NIBIO), Sari Iivonen (FORI/Luke) and Annette V. Vestergaard (SEGES). And in the back Frederik Bøe (NIBIO) and Thomas Julseth Brown.


Network – Sustain Nordic soil health (NetSH)
Reidun Pommeresche, Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture (NORSØK) reidun.pommeresche@norsok.no

Lars J. Munkholm (m), Aarhus University lars.munkholm@agro.au.dk
Sari Iivonen (f), FORI/Luke, (Finnish Organic Research Institute under Luke) sari.iivonen@luke.fi
Eva Salomon (f), RISE (Research Institute of Sweden) eva.salomon@ri.se


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)

Register here!


13.00-13.05 Welcoming by Sami Kurki, Director of Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki
13.05-13.12 Short introduction by the Jonathan Eng, Nordic Council, moderator
13.12-13.20 Short speech by NKJ secretariat
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
14.20-14.30 SLU
14.30-14.40 Video with interviews to the master/PhD students
14.40-15.00 Launch of the Linkedin page Nordic Academia for Sustainable

The Nordic conference on reindeer husbandry 2022

The Nordic Conference on Reindeer Husbandry 9-10 November 2022 was held at NIBIO Svanhovd, Pasvik, Norway.
Scroll down for video and photos


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 first day of the conference focused on current status, policy and governance on predators, and the second day focused on issues connected to climate change.

Find the speakers and their presentations in the outline of the program below:

Part 1 Loss of reindeer to predators
Keynote: “Main challenges”

Click on title/name for PowerPoint presentation, click on VIDEO for filmed presentation

• Paliskuntain yhdistys/Reindeer Herders Association Finland – Sanna Hast VIDEO

• Svenska samernas riksförbund/Reindeer herders organisation Sweden – Matti Blind Berg VIDEO

• Norske Reindriftsamers Landsforbund/Reindeer herders organisation Norway – Leif Anders Somby VIDEO

Status and consequences of loss – development within the Nordic countries

“Tap av reinsdyr i de Nordiske landene – status og konsekvenser for næringen” – Svein Morten Eilertsen (NIBIO) VIDEO

Stocks, management and monitoring of stocks

“Large carnivores in reindeer herding districts” – Ilpo Kojola (Luke) VIDEO


Part 2 Governance
Keynote: “Measures to reduce loss”

• Ministry of Environment, NO – Torbjørn Lange VIDEO

• Sami Parliament, SE – Ander-Erling Fjällås VIDEO

Compensation for loss – comparative perspective

”Economic-Ecological System Analysis of the Costs of Predation and Difficult Winter Conditions on Reindeer Husbandry” – Antti-Juhani Pekkarinen (Luke) VIDEO

Documentation of loss, use of traditional knowledge – Karen Anette Anti (NRL) VIDEO


Part 3 Ongoing research projects

“Beitenæringer og rovvilt i nord” – Snorre Hagen (NIBIO) VIDEO

“Future of reindeer husbandry – workshops in Finland; joint work of projects CHARTER, CLIMINI and POVAUS” – Sirpa Rasmus (University of Lapland) VIDEO


Part 4 Reindeer husbandry in a changing climate
Keynote: “Challenges climate change adaptation”

• Svenska samernas riksförbund/Reindeer Herders organisation Sweden – Matti Blind Berg VIDEO

• Paliskuntain yhdistys/Reindeer Herders’ Association Finland – Sanna Hast VIDEO

• Norske Reindriftsamers Landsforbund/Reindeer Herders organisation Norway – Leif Anders Somby VIDEO

Consequences of climate change

“Interconnections of climate change, reindeer husbandry and other land use” – Anna Skarin (SLU) VIDEO

“The Times They Are A-Changin’ – research trends and perspectives of reindeer pastoralism – a text mining approach” – Øystein Holand (Norges miljø-og biovitenskaplige universitet) VIDEO

“Climate change impacts on reindeer pastures” – Jutta Kapfer (NIBIO) NOT AVAILABLE

“Climate change increase the risk of facing difficult winters in reindeer herding” – Jouko Kumpula (Luke) VIDEO

“Coping strategies of herders, knowledge gaps and long-term planning needs” – Sirpa Rasmus (University of Lapland) VIDEO

“Presentation of knowledge gaps identified in the report: NIBIO Brage: Kartlegging av forskning på reindriftsområdet – kunnskapsgrunnlag og forskningsbehov”- Inger Hansen (NIBIO) VIDEO



See more of the arrangement:






NKJ ska undersöka motståndskraften mot samhälleliga kriser

Klarar vi nordbor oss om det blir kris? De nordiska samhällena har nyligen drabbats av flera större, oförutsägbara händelser med stark påverkan på viktiga samhällssystem, som till exempel stora skogsbränder, pandemi och krig i närområdet. Dessa kriser har väckt frågor om vilken beredskap som finns i samhället och hur god förmågan att hantera större störningar faktiskt är.


Kriser påverkar samhället på flera sätt. Även bioekonomin påverkas, oavsett om krisen utgörs av klimatförändringar, pandemi eller krig och konflikter.

Länder går samman för att samarbeta kring militärt försvar – nationella lösningar kan stärkas genom aktiva samarbeten mellan länder. På samma sätt behövs gemensamma strategier för till exempel försörjning.

I Norden finns redan starka kopplingar mellan länderna inom områdena skog, jordbruk, livsmedel och fisk. Det finns alltså goda förutsättningar för att öka och formalisera den gemensamma beredskapen inom Norden och därmed stärka resiliensen* i alla länderna i händelse av kris.

Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) och Nordic Forest Research (SNS) har fått i uppdrag av Nordiska Ministerrådet att undersöka och utveckla resiliensen i den nordiska bioekonomin.

 Vi kommer att ställa frågor som

  • Vilka är de kritiska länkarna i värdekedjorna inom den nordiska bioekonomin och hur påverkas dessa i kristider?
  • Hur påverkas arbetskraft, energipriser, insatsvaror och investeringar av den osäkerhet som kriser skapar?


Det här vill vi åstadkomma:

  • Ökad dialog och kunskap om resiliens i Norden
  • Nordiska samarbeten och gemensamma insatser
  • Policyrekommendationer för fortsatt arbete


Under maj-juni 2022 genomfördes en förstudie i form av kartläggning och analys av insatser som redan är på gång när det gäller resiliens i tider av kris i de olika nordisk länderna. Kartläggningen visar att det finns ett stort intresse för ämnet kris, resiliens och beredskap i Norden och att det pågår en rad insatser på ämnet.


Workshop för framtiden

Under november 2022 kommer NKJ och SNS att arrangera fyra workshoppar med sakkunniga för att diskutera områden som är viktiga för att stärka resiliensen i den nordiska bioekonomin.

Jordbruk: 7 nov, 9-11 CET
Livsmedel: 8 nov, 9-11 CET
Skogsbruk: 14 nov, 9-11 CET
Fiske: 15 nov, 9-11 CET

Är du expert inom något av de aktuella områdena och vill delta i att stärka den nordiska resiliensen? Anmäl dig nu! Deadline är 24 oktober.

Anmäl dig här!


*Resiliens är den långsiktiga förmågan hos ett system att hantera förändringar och fortsätta att utvecklas. 

Join the conference on future reindeer husbandry

Climate change now effects all aspects of our lives and societies. Reindeer herding is no exception. The Nordic Conference on Reindeer Herding adresses the problem, and also focuses on the impact of predators in reindeer herding.


Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) invites researchers reindeer herders, stakeholders and government officials and representatives from the sector engaged in reindeer husbandry to The Nordic Conference on Reindeer Husbandry 9-10 November 2022.  The conference will be held at NIBIO Svanhovd, Pasvik, Norway.

The topic of the 2022 conference is challenges to reindeer husbandry, in particular the impact of predators, as well as consequences of a changing climate in Sweden, Finland and Norway. The first day of the conference will focus on current status, policy and governance on predators, and the second day will be focused on issues connected to climate change.

Among the speakers:
• Jutta Kapfer, NIBIO
• Øystein Holand, NIBIO
• Anna Skarin, SLU
• Snorre Hagen, NIBIO
• Antti-Juhani Pekkarinen, Luke
• Leif Anders, NRL
• Matti Blind Berg, chair, SSR
• Ander-Erling Fjällås, vice chair, SSR
• Ilpo Kojola, Luke
• Jouko Kumpula, researcher at LUKE
• Svein Morten Eilertsen, researcher at NIBIO
• Sirpa Rasmus, University of Lapland
• Inger Hansen, NIBIO

Find the agenda here!

Last day to register is 19/10.  Registration can be done here.

Participating in the conference is free, including meals and accommodation. Travelling tickets are not included. Signing up and not showing up will be charged with a fee of 500 SEK. The registration can be cancelled without any charge until 26/10.

Remember to book your traveling tickets. Suggested flights Oslo-Kirkenes-Oslo:

Tuesday 8 November:
Norwegian 328: Oslo 17.10–Tromsø 19.05
Widerøe 918: Tromsø 19.35–Kirkenes 20.50

Thursday 10 November:
Widerøe 975: Kirkenes 14.40–Alta 15.30
Widerøe 925: Alta 15.50–Tromsø 16.30
SAS 4425: Tromsø 17.05–Oslo or Norwegian 383: From Tromsø 17.20

A connecting bus from Kirkenes airport to Svanhovd will be provided.

The conference will take place indoors. However, just a kind reminder to bring clothes adapted to the weather conditions.

Preliminary agenda:

9 November 9-17
Part 1: Loss of reindeer to predators
Part 2: Governance and management to prevent loss of reindeer
Part 3: Presentation of ongoing research projects

10 November 9-12
Part 4: Reindeer husbandry in a changing climate


About NIBIO, Svanhovd
The venue of the conference will be NIBIO Svanhovd. The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) has several research stations throughout the country. NIBIO Svanhovd is situated in the east of Troms and Finnmark county, close to the Pasvik river, in the middle of the wedge of Norwegian land separating Russia and Finland in the north. NIBIO Svanhovd also runs a national park centre, a botanical garden and a conference centre.

More about NIBIO Svanhovd: Svanhovd – Nibio
Map of Svanhovd: Google Maps