EU-funded drone projects will streamline reindeer husbandry in Jämtland Härjedalen

The European Commission puts forward a drone project in Jämtland Härjedalen, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund,ERDF. The purpose is to find out through field studies whether drone equipped IR cameras can streamline the work of reindeer herding companies. It is hoped that the new technology will in the future be utilized also in other industries such as sustainable forestry and agriculture.

In addition to making reindeer husbandry work more efficient, the new technology will increase the safety of reindeer herders and reduce emissions of fossil fuels. The drones can be used instead of scooters or helicopters to locate and operate the reindeer, which means reduced daily scooter driving and fewer carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, it will be possible to maintain the unique mountain environment to a greater extent.

The project, which goes by the name “Testing new technology in daily reindeer husbandry to reduce environmental impact and increase profitability” is believed to be used not only in reindeer husbandry but also in other green industries, such as forestry and agriculture. That's what Karl Komstedt from Torsta AB says in the pod talk green. Torsta AB runs the project together with Digidest AB and Tossåsens Sameby in Jämtland Härjedalen. It is hoped that the project will be able to develop a training package for drone use that will be used by more traders in Jämtland.

It is positive that EU funding is directed towards the most important industry of the Sami, the reindeer industry. In this case, the drone project helps to preserve nature and keep the landscapes alive as small local companies in the mountain world can continue with reindeer husbandry in a more sustainable and safe way. As the OECD points out in its territorial report, which was published in July 2019 focusing on the role of the Sami and their contribution to regional development, more financial support is needed for the Sami industries, which can generally boost the economy, tourism, and the attractive living environment in northern Sweden. Niklas Johansson from Tossåsens Sami village looks very positively on the project and sees that it already facilitates the work with reindeer husbandry. The drone can display images of the reindeer in real-time and also allows you to locate newly suitable areas to operate the reindeer. This in turn leads to reduced emissions, through fewer helicopter lifts and fewer mileage on scooters.

Today, the major challenge is the batteries of the drones that limit flight time, especially in cold weather. "If they get to the battery, then it will be unbeatable," says Niklas Johansson in the pod talking green. The project is partly financed by the ERDF with approximately SEK 1 million for the period October 2018 to December 2020. The project continues with a more developed drone for the winter season 2019-2020.

/Johannes Stenberg

Listen to the full feature of the drone project here.

Read more about the project in the Agricultural News article here.

Read the OECD study focusing on regional development and indigenous peoples here.

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