Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Physical geography and climate
Population, economic development and infrastructure
Indigenous land use and dependence on the environment
Environmental threats
Map (1997)
Article collection

Environmental threats

The condition and availability of reindeer pasture lands is of critical importance for the Nenets and Izhma-Komi in the okrug.

The condition of productive rivers and lakes is critical for securing an additional fish diet and rebuilding a sustainable combination subsistence.

The gathering of berries, herbs and mushrooms has gained a renewed subsidiary significance due to the present economic situation, and demands the protection of natural environments around residence areas.

Radioactive pollution of pasture lands has been a continuous problem since the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in the 1960s.

The severest threats towards reindeer breeding and the associated cultural values of the indigenous society are, beside social and economic problems, the land destruction through the oil and gas development:

1. Loss of pasture lands through oil production and infrastructure development is becoming the most critical threat. Experiences from the devastated Ob Basin and Yamal areas indicate the possibility of immense damage, although there is hope that modern environmental understanding combined with international participation and new transportation technology may reduce the expected damage.

2. Pollution of remaining reindeer pastures and freshwater is expected to become a severe problem in the expanding oil production areas in the nearest future.

3. Transportation lines cut off migration routes for domestic reindeers. Pipelines are built with reindeer crossings. Boat traffic on frozen rivers may also have consequences for reindeer migrations.

4. Furthermore, socio-economic reasons cause reduction of reindeer herds and hence of the sustainable base for the future development of this livelihood. Reindeer theft by oil workers has been experienced in Western Siberia , where it caused immense damage over time.