Wind power in operation and impacts on reindeer and reindeer herding

Last changed: 25 March 2022
Wind farm in sunset and snow. Photo.

The project was financed by Swedish Energy Agency (Vindval research programme) and primarily investigated how wind power development affects reindeer in the winter grazing area in Sweden. The project was a continuation of a previous project financed by Vindval on the effects of wind power with a focus on the effect on reindeer in summer pasture in the forest.

Wind power is an important part of the renewable energy production in Sweden. A large part of the wind power is developed in the northern part of Sweden and thus ends up in the reindeer herding area. Today, Sweden has reindeer husbandry over half (55%) of the land area and the number of conflicts and court negotiations between the state, companies and reindeer husbandry has increased significantly. The knowledge of how wind power affects reindeer and reindeer herding has increased through our former projects (see publication list below), but there are still uncertainties about how reindeer and reindeer husbandry are affected in the winter grazing area in the forest in Sweden. This knowledge is needed to evaluate any negative effects and risk mitigating measures. Such knowledge is necessary at an early stage to avoid controversial development alternatives, and to facilitate an assessment of the impact. 

The project group consists of Anna Skarin (SLU, Project Manager), postdoc Bernardo Brandao Niebuhr dos Santos, Per Sandström (SLU), Moudud Alam (Dalarna University), and the Sami reindeer herding communities Malå sameby (Storliden, Jokkmokksliden, Ytterberg and Åmliden's wind farms), Mittådalens sameby (Glötesvålen's wind farm), Tåssåsens sameby (Mullberg's wind farm) and Vilhelmina Norra sameby (Gabrielsbergets wind farm) leads the work to acquire new knowledge that is highly relevant for administration and authorities to be used at an early stage to reduce or remedy any future conflicts.

Financed by: Energimyndigheten, Vindval


Publications from the project:

Scientific articles

Out of sight of wind turbines—Reindeer response to wind farms in operation. Skarin A, Sandström P, Alam M. Ecology and Evolution 2018;00:1–14. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4476

Reindeer habitat use in relation to two small wind farms, during preconstruction, construction, and operation. Skarin, A. & Alam, M. Ecology and Evolution. 2017; 00: 1–13. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2941

Wind Farm Construction Impacts Reindeer Migration and Movement Corridors. Skarin A, Nellemann C, Rönnegård L, Sandström P, & Lundqvist H, 2015. Landscape Ecology doi:10.1007/s10980-015-0210-8

Do human activity and infrastructure disturb domesticated reindeer? The need for the reindeers perspective. Skarin A & Åhman B, 2014, Polar Biology, doi: 10.1007/s00300-014-1499-5 

Reports (English abstract)

Skarin, A., Sandström, P., Brandão Niebuhr, B., Alam, M., Adler, S., 2021. Renar, renskötsel och vindkraft: vinter- och barmarksbete (No. 7011), Vindval. Naturvårdsverket (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency), Stockholm.

Vindkraft och renar. En kunskapssammanställning. Strand, O. m.fl. 2018.

Vindkraft og reinsdyr – en kunnskapssyntese. Strand, O., Colman, J.E., Eftestøl, S., Sandström, P., Skarin, A. & Thomassen, J. 2017. - NINA Rapport 1305. 62 s. 

Kumulativa effekter av exploateringar på renskötseln. Rapport från kunskapsprogrammet Vindval. Rasmus Kløcker Larsen. mf.l. 2016. 

Renar och vindkraft II - vindkraft i drift och effekter på renar och renskötsel. Skarin m.fl. 2016 

Renar och Vindkraft. Skarin m.fl. 2013

Spillningsinventering. Anna Skarin och Maria Hörnell-Willebrand 2011