The fact that the reindeer can move more freely in the landscape is especially important now with a view to climate change.
Excavations in winter reindeer down to the lichen they want to eat under the snow cover. But periods of snowfall mixed with rain and snow mean that the snow has turned into a hard layer of ice that the reindeer have to fight with.
Reach meadows with better snow, they often have to cross major roads. The game fence stops there or they go onto the road and run the risk of being hit.
– In a changing climate with difficult snow conditions, it will be extra important to find and reach alternative pastures, says landscape ecologist Per Sandström from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
He looks special reindeer bridges as a good way to help animals move more freely. He calls them renoducts and there are only a few left today.
But this year the idea is that the first of about ten new refurbishments that the Swedish Transport Administration is planning in Norrbotten and Västerbotten will start with the construction of the E4 north of Umeå.
– Now I’m really looking forward to the chance to pass undisturbed, says reindeer herder Tobias Jonsson.
He tells that Reindeer husbandry today, with no reindeer herd, means the entire E4 site has to be shut down.
And an advantage with the new reindeer herds will be that reindeer herders are involved and have chosen both the site and design so that the reindeer will dare to cross, he says.
– For example to open it from above. Not that they can jump down as it has a six foot high fence. But the reindeer look to the sides, so it’s not like they’re going into a tunnel ahead of them. They don’t want to get stuck.
Hear more in Vetenskapsradion Klotet.
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