The critical situation with traditional reindeer husbandry in the Yamal district of the Yamalo- Nenets Autonomous Area, indicated by an anthrax epizootic, is analyzed from an ecological viewpoint. The phenomenon of epizootic is regarded as an ecosystemic homeostatic mechanism operating to prevent excess population growth and maintain ecosystem integrity. The shutdown of this mechanism by means of vaccination, with the proportion of reindeer removed from slaughter remaining low, has resulted in an increased grazing load of rangelands and their consequent severe degradation. These events have been aggravated due to change in the type of ownership in reindeer husbandry during the reforms of the 1990s. The ecological situation is classified as critical, posing a real hazard to this particular ethnic form of economy. It is concluded that the period of extensive/expansive development of Yamal reindeer husbandry has come to an end. Sociopsychological attitudes of the Nenets, acquired when biological resources were abundant, contradict with the principles of ecosystem existence and functioning in the period of resource depletion. The maintenance of reindeer husbandry in the traditional form requires increasing material, labor, and financial investments, but positive results are unlikely to be obtained because of ecological constraints.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: May 20, 2017
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