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Reindeer, Fish and Game – Transitions in Early Modern Sami Natural Resource Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Larsson, Jesper; Sjaunja, Eva-Lotta Päiviö
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 19-21, 2019
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10494
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: Europe
Subject(s): self-governance
property rights
Abstract: "The paper will discuss how long-term changes in socioecological systems and property rights are connected and how these rights are negotiated in a self-governing context. It will be done by investigating changes in natural resource governance in early modern Sami communities in interior northern Scandinavia. The empirical material is from Lule lappmark in Northern Sweden. Earlier research has mainly focused on the government’s role in property rights changes in a Sami context. The sixteenth and seventeenth century saw new trading patterns and Sami households became more involved in trade. This spurred the development of large-scale reindeer herding. By examining how users used different ecological settings, from 1550 to 1780, it is possible to show how an older property-rights system dissolved due to the emergence of large-scale reindeer nomadism. The paper will discuss property rights to three main resources within interior Sami economy: reindeer, freshwater fish and game. While all these three are considering common-pool resource the property regime differed among them. Fresh water fish and hunting were private rights rather than collective rights and these rights were more important for Sami using the boreal forests as their main habitat. When large-scale reindeer herding emerged, it required collective rights for grazing. The Sami that had access to summer grazing in the alpine region developed collective land-use regimes when the herds enlarged and they gradually gained formal rights to graze on private land in the boreal forests during winter. The change was largely a consequence of Sami self-governance."

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