Reindeer habitat use

How reindeer use their habitat depends on factors such as the spatial and temporal distribution of forage plants, the likelihood for encountering predators and parasites and weather. A reindeer female on summer pasture need to acquire enough body mass and energy for herself and her calf to sustain the harsh winter season and must choose habitats optimally to fulfill these requirements.

Habitat selection in female reindeer have been studied over two summers (2006 and 2007) by equipping 20 individuals with GPS receivers. Positions of the animals were downloaded on a daily basis by means of a VFH-transmitter. A proportion of the positions were visited in order to sample information on plant species composition and phenology, and pellet group counts of all herbivores on the location was made to quantify general intensity of use of herbivores.


A reindeer female equipped with GPS collar leads a small group in lowland birch forest. Preliminary results indicate that reindeer in the herding district studied use all available pastures from sea level to highland tundra

Recorded locations (red dots) of a reindeer female through the summer of 2006 plotted on an image of NDVI data from the Landsat TM satellite 30 Juli 2006. Tones of green denotes vegetation cover of differential levels of biomass, tones of blue denote water, snow or vegetation free areas and shades of grey denotes stones and bare rocks. The satellite data are reproduced with permission from U.S. Geological Survey




Ecosystem Finnmark


Research workers



Contact us:

Dept. of Biology
Fac. of Science
Uni. of Tromsø
N-9037 Tromsø



Rolf A. Ims

Per Fauchald

Vera Hausner



Ecosystem Finnmark