During the last decade, several well-publicized grazing-related incidents of vegetation degradation have helped to form an official opinion of overutilization of some mountain areas and a concern that Swedish reindeer husbandry may not be ecologically sustainable. We examine these examples in a temporal and management perspective to assess the scale of impact on summer grazing grounds in the Swedish mountains. Long-term data on population dynamics of reindeer show no trend with fluctuations around 225 000 animals for the last century. Data on grazing effects from Långfjället (Dalarna) and Mittåkläppen (Härjedalen) are discussed in detail. We compare these data to the situation in Finnmark, Norway, and in northern Finland where reindeer husbandry in recent decades does not seem to have been ecologically sustainable. We conclude that large-scale overexploitation by reindeer in the Swedish mountains is not evident. However, strong grazing and trampling effects may be found around enclosures and fences.
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