Arctic Award to research project BuSK, local knowledge in land use planning.

Publicerad: 18 oktober 2019

The Arctic Award is a project competition that highlights good practice projects focused on topics of particular relevance to the Arctic area. This year in the category: Sustainable use of Resources, the research project BuSK - Building Shared Knowledge capital to support natural resource governance in the Northern periphery, got the Arctic Award.

BuSK is a research project, which develops planning tools that enhance the use of participatory techniques, and gives assistance for decision makers concerning land use planning and natural resource governance. Peripheral livelihoods and land use depend heavily on natural resources, but their management is often contested by various stakeholder interests. The challenge of reconciling various land-use modes is how to acknowledge, combine and make use of local, scientific and other expert knowledge, and how to select relevant knowledge in decision making.

Per Sandström, Stefan Sandström and Gun Lidestav from SLU led the Swedish case study and contributed to the overall BuSK project aims by implementing, testing and improving the participatory GIS, RenGIS, in a number of ongoing land use settings. All phases of the project, from planning to reporting, was carried out in direct and close collaboration with Gran reindeer herding community (RHC).

BuSK is mainly funded by The Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 Programme and coordinated by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). The three-year project began on 1th of June 2016 and it ended on 31th of May 2019.

Read more about RenGIS

RenGIS was used to map e.g. reindeer herding areas, migration routes and grazing lands. SLU provided mapping tools and supported reindeer herder knowledge production. Resulting maps and data was used by the RHC to support their consultations with planners from different authorities. The process led to empowerment of the local herding communities. The RHC has been involved from the beginning of the process and the PGIS was developed and improved together with the RHC. The collected data are mainly for internal use which incentives work, stimulates learning and gave a deeper understanding of reindeer herding within the RHC. Collected traditional knowledge data are presented in a format compatible with existing planning tools simplifying the consultations. Since such spatial data are valuable in a planning process, there has been a feedback from planners to the RHC that their knowledge is important. Better understanding of the planning process levels the playing field in consultations and has given opportunities for Gran RHC to suggest improvements.

The RHC traditional knowledge about the land and of the needs of the reindeer together with detailed mappings of all other land uses formed the bases to our contribution towards better land use planning. Ongoing land use activities that need better coordination with reindeer husbandry include forestry, mining, wind power developments as well as new and existing infrastructure developments. The specific ongoing land use situation we worked on includeed incorporating the need of reindeer husbandry into the projection of the new high-speed train line from Umeå to Skellefteå and onward north.

Delineating and compiling the traditional knowledge of reindeer herders in Gran RHC expressed as detailed mappings in RenGIS provided input data to planning by the Swedish Transport Administration. Furthermore, RenGIS served as the communication tool for our results. The procedures developed together with Gran RHC have now also been implemented in neighboring RHCs and a preliminary plan for reindeer crossing (eco ducts) along the entire train line between Umeå and Skellefteå is presented to the Swedish Transport Administration. Additionally we mapped and proposed eco ducts across the parallel-run E4 highway. Other work using RenGIS to address ongoing land use cases in Gran RHC include the area around the Kristineberg mine, municipal planning in Sorsele as well as a number of specific forestry issues.