The Arctic Circle region of northern Sweden is the home of the Saami people. It is the largest area in the world (and one of the last) with an ancestral way of life based on the seasonal movement of livestock. Every summer, the Saami lead their huge herds of reindeer towards the mountains through a natural landscape hitherto preserved, but now threatened by the advent of motor vehicles. Historical and ongoing geological processes can be seen in the glacial moraines and changing water courses.
2020 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Variety of landscapes, with spectacular mountain scenery
Natural phenomena of exceptional beauty
Examples of historic and on-going geological processes (associated with glacial activity)
Examples of on-going ecological and biological processes
Fauna: The site have a greater number of vertebrate species than any other mountain region in Sweden. The native reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are all semi-domesticated. The Laponian Area counts some rare mammals, such as brown bears (Ursus arctos), wolverine (Gulo gulo), European otter (Lutra lutra), Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and a large population of moose (Alces alces) in the Rapa Valley (UNEP-WCMC, 2011; Laponiatjuottjudus, 2012).
Resident large birds include white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), gyrfalcon (Falco rusticulus), peregrine falcon (F. peregrines) and merlin (F. columbarius). In the Sjaunja mires and the bog surrounding Muddusjaure, more than 150 species have been seen, at least 100 of which have been confirmed as breeding, some 50 being dependent on wetland habitat (IUCN, 1996; UNEP-WCMC, 2011; Laponiatjuottjudus, 2012).
The EALAT research project led from Kautokeino-Norway, is focusing on climate change impact on reindeer, arctic environment and herding in Arctic countries, and adaptation to changes (Oskal et al., 2009). The boreal ecosystems of the Laponian Area, situated in northern Sweden above polar circle, are likely to be affected by diverse changes. Consequently, some changes may affect the values of the World Heritage site (Oskal et al., 2009). Especially traditional livelihoods of Sámi communities are and will be affected by the effects of climate change, and the provision of ecosystem services from subarctic ecosystem services will be affected (Kelman and Næss, 2019; Markkula et al., 2019).
Since 2011, Laponiatjuottjudus is in charge of managing the area according to conservation objectives detailed in the management plan adopted by consensus in 2012 (Laponiatjuottjudus, 2012; Green, 2009; Galland, 2012; Revelin, 2013b). According to an evaluation undertaken in 2016, the new management structure has led to an overall well-functioning collaboration between the authorities and the Sámi village organizations, where the Sámi perspective and knowledge about reindeer herding and its conditions have been better acknowledged and management is undertaken in greater agreement with the Sámi village organizations (PWC, 2016). There is also a clear willingness and ambition from most public and private stakeholders to find and develop a sustainable management model for indigenous Sámi natural and cultural heritage (Stjernström et al., 2020).
|№||Organization||Brief description of Active Projects||Website|
|1||Laponiatjuottjuddus||Participatory management board implementing conservation objectives of the Laponian Area||
|2||Naturvårdsverket||Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, supervising the overall conservation planning for Swedish protected areas||
http://www.swedishepa.se/Enjoying-nature/Protected-areas/ https://www.naturvardsverket.se/Var-natur/Skyddad-natur/Nationalparker/ (in Swedish)
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Mahmood Q. and Janson R, (2013). Letter on “mining projects in the vicinity of the World Heritage property “Laponian Area”, Sweden”.
Maliniemi, T., Kapfer, J., Saccone, P., Skog, A. and Virtanen, R. (2018). Long‐term vegetation changes of treeless heath communities in northern Fennoscandia: Links to climate change trends and reindeer grazing. Journal of Vegetation Science, 29(3), pp.469-479. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12630
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Olvmo, M., Holmer, B., Thorsson, S., Reese, H. and Lindberg, F. (2020). Sub-arctic palsa degradation and the role of climatic drivers in the largest coherent palsa mire complex in Sweden (Vissátvuopmi), 1955–2016. Scientific Reports, 10(1), pp.1-10.
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