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Researchers discuss the impact of ecosystem change on reindeer and people who depend on them.

When most of us think of reindeer, images of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh come to mind. But dependency on reindeer isn't just the stuff of holiday songs. For some people living above the Arctic Circle, reindeer are crucial part of life, providing food, transportation, clothing and other essentials. Recent developments in human history have intruded on this traditional life, especially oil and gas production in the Arctic and climate change.

Bruce Forbes from the University of Lapland and his colleagues have studied how these changes have impacted the Nenet, a group of reindeer herders who live in parts of Siberia. They have found that the Nenet, and the reindeer they depend on, are adapting well to these changes, and their culture and way of life endure.

Credit: Gwendolyn Morgan and Dana Cruikshank, National Science Foundation, Bruce Forbes

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