Research database

Project information
Project title
Project leader
Marius Warg Næss
Geographical localization of the research project in decimal degrees (max 5 per project, ex. 70,662°N and 23,707°E)
69.96887, 23.27165

Marius Warg Næss (NIKU), Bård-Jørgen Bårdsen (NINA), Navinder J. Singh (SLU)

Funding Source

Budget for 2016

Summary of Results

In line with the proposal, fieldwork was undertaken during summer and autumn of 2016. The starting point for the fieldwork was to interview Saami reindeer herders who utilize pastures in Kautokeino “Middle zone” during winter (common pastures). This area is used by 98 siidashares in 24 vintersiidas. The aim of the interviews was to map changes in use of winter pastures, possible conflicts in connection to pasture use (as a proxy for territorial behvaiour), changes in wintersiidas, cooperation as well as more general information pertaining to reindeer herding. 3 experimental economic games were played with every participant: 2 public goods games and 1 gift game with the intention of revealing how herders cooperate within and between wintersiidas (all games were financed by HIERARCHIES). At present, 34 siidas shares have participated. 

In general, reindeer herders in Norway report that there is increasing pressure on grazing areas stemming from competing interests, e.g. protection of large predators, area demanding businesses like mining and construction of roads, cabins and power grid as well as tourism. As for use of winter pastures few indicate that there is overlap in use. Most herders therefore utilize pastures within their own circumscribed areas although some indicate that they can use other siidas pastures in emergencies (e.g. icing of pastures). In relation to conflicts with neighboring siidas the response is varying: one herder points out that it’s difficult to complain about pressure on pastures because traditional rights are difficult to document. Another point outs that there is more conflicts between pasture zones. Others point out that since at present the pasture borders between siidas are not firmly in place, crossing into another siida’s area—especially when conditions are bad—happens and is accepted but that it most likely will change when siida areas become permanent. It’s also pointed out that herders that have a long tradition with using their areas do not have to fence in their areas, but other with a shorter history needs fences to legitimize their right to use the area. Preliminary results also indicate that herders have a strong propensity for treating siidamembers as equals. Decisions in relation to herding are taken together, everyone helps each other and no-one decides more than others. The same pattern is present with regard to loaning (car, snowmobile, ATV etc.): lending and borrowing is reciprocal and they do not keep track of who borrowed/lent what to whom, but that you only borrow from others when it’s necessary for work. In effect, this seems to indicate that there exists a cultural norm in relation to equality and cooperation in the reindeer husbandry in Finnmark. The analyses of the games have just been initiated, but preliminary results indicate that the probability of receiving a gift increases substantially if giver and recipient belong to the same siida. Kinship is important, but preliminary analyses indicates that they are less important than siida membership.

Master and PhD-students involved in the project


For the Management

Not any relevant information at the present stage.

Published Results/Planned Publications

One publication pertaining to pasture use conflict and territoriality is forseen within the next 2 years.

Communicated Results

A previous, but pertinent study, was communicated on, looking at cooperative behaviour among herders in one district. This study was partly financed by the Framcentre in 2013 through the project "Cooperation and competition in the Saami reindeer husbandry" (led by Marius Warg Næss) and is published in Human Ecology.


Interdisciplinary Cooperation

Project team consists of one anthropologists and two ecologists.

Budget in accordance to results

Budget is spent in accordance with proposal in 2016.

Could results from the project be subject for any commercial utilization