Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

Contact: Bruce Forbes <>
Date: October 1998

Since 1991, Bruce Forbes has been involved in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug with investigations relating to the impact of oil and gas development on the ecosystems, and how these impacts affect current and future Nenets livelihoods, namely reindeer husbandry. The work is focused on changes in reindeer habitat and how the Nenets themselves perceive land use change.

The project(s) have been funded at various times by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Academy of Sciences, the National Geographic Society, NATO's Scientific and Environmental Affairs Division and the U.S. National Science Foundation. Funding is lacking at present, while results from work in 1991 to 1996 are summarised and published.

A doctoral thesis on the Nenets population of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug is presently written by Tuula Tuisku. The objective is to study the strategy of the Nenets reindeer herders to survive under new circumstances. These include transition to market economy and oil and gas development. Simultaneously, the herders have to solve problems inherited from the Soviet Era, where they where forced upon radical cultural changes like collectivisation and sovietisation. The whole of these circumstances are severely threatening the existence of reindeer husbandry in the Okrug.

In February 1999, Arctic Centre will host an IASC-sponsored workshop on reindeer/caribou grazing systems which will focus on human dimensions of change in circumpolar areas. The workshop will include extensive participation by both reindeer herders and scientists from Russia. Relevant research topics will be defined.

Arctic Centre is housing an exhibition about the indigenous peoples of the Russian North.

Update 29-11-2001