Revising and re-structuring the Renewable Energy system in Norway while preserving long-term wild reindeer habitat functionality. 2015-19
Norway hosts the last populations of wild mountain reindeer, and has international responsibility to preserve them. However, in those same mountain areas Norway also hosts a large number of hydroelectric plants that - along with roads and other infrastructures - often represent barriers to reindeer migrations. Most licenses for the hydropower stations are currently being revised, with the aim to reduce their environmental impact. RenewableReindeer brings together ecologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, social scientists, technicians and local communities and stakeholders to finding ways to mitigate the impact of the network of infrastructures associated to the renewable energy systems while preserving reindeer habitat.
Photo © NINA
Hydropower developed extensively during the last century in Norway, and the resulting network of infrastructures has changed mountain landscapes dramatically. Most hydropower concessions are (or will be) subjected to a relicensing process aimed at increasing focus on sustainability. In these same mountains, Norway hosts the last remaining population of wild mountain reindeer, and has national and international responsibility for its conservation. The infrastructure network has contributed to blocking most traditional migration routes and fragmenting the population into 23 isolated units. Norway is now faced with the challenge of revising, re-structuring and expanding the renewable energy system while granting long-term wild reindeer conservation.
This project relies on a large group of scientists worldwide from the fields of ecology, mathematics, computer-science and sociology to help Norway meeting this complex challenge form an ecological, technical and socio-political perspective.
The project aims to develop an innovative Habitat Functionality Metric quantifying the cumulative impact caused by infrastructures in terms of habitat loss and fragmentation. We further aim at developing cutting-edge simulation tools to forecast changes in reindeer movement corridors and habitat functionality under scenarios of changes in the infrastructure network. We expect these tools to become invaluable for reindeer-oriented impact assessment, for the identification of cost-effective mitigation options, and for the development of sustainable land development strategies.
The iterative involvement of stakeholders through dialogues and scoping processes will ensure relevance, minimize conflict potential, and will allow identifying realistic mitigation options. Finally, an in-depth examination of the regulatory framework and of multilevel governance will allow exploring possibilities for improvements aimed at ensuring feasibility in the implementation of mitigation measures.
Relevant scientific publications:
- Searching for the fundamental niche using individual-based habitat selection modelling across populations. Panzacchi M. & Van Moorter B (shared first authorship), Strand O, Loe LE, Reimers E, Ecography, 38 (7): 659-669
- Predicting the continuum between corridors and barriers to animal movements using Step Selection Functions and Randomized Shortest Paths. Manuela Panzacchi, Bram Van Moorter, Olav Strand, Marco Saerens, Ilkka Kivimäki, Colleen C. St Clair, Ivar Herfindal, and Luigi Boitani. Journal of Animal Ecology, Special Issue, 85, 1 (2016): 32-42.
- Developments in the theory of randomized shortest paths with a comparison of graph node distances. Ilkka Kivimäki, Masashi Shimbo, and Marco Saerens. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications 393 (2014): 600-616.
- Learning from the past to predict the future: Modelling archaeological findings and GPS data to quantify reindeer sensitivity to anthropogenic disturbance in Norway. Panzacchi M., Van Moorter B., Strand, O. Landscape Ecology, Special Issue (2013) 28:847–859
- A road in the middle of one of the last wild reindeer migrations routes in Norway: crossing behaviour and threats to conservation. Panzacchi M., Van Moorter B., Strand, O. Rangifer, Special Issue (2013) 21: 15-26
- ‘You shall not pass!’: quantifying barrier permeability and proximity avoidance by animals (pages 43–53) Hawthorne L. Beyer, Eliezer Gurarie, Luca Börger, Manuela Panzacchi, Mathieu Basille, Ivar Herfindal, Bram Van Moorter, Subhash R. Lele and Jason Matthiopoulos, Journal of Animal Ecology, Special Issue, 85, 1 (2016)
How many routes lead to migration? Comparison of methods to assess and characterize migratory movements (pages 54–68)
Francesca Cagnacci, Stefano Focardi, Anne Ghisla, Bram van Moorter, Evelyn H. Merrill, Eliezer Gurarie, Marco Heurich, Atle Mysterud, John Linnell, Manuela Panzacchi, Roel May, Torgeir Nygård, Christer Rolandsen and Mark Hebblewhite, Journal of Animal Ecology
, Special Issue, 85, 1 (2016)
Movement is the glue connecting home ranges and habitat selection (pages 21–31)
Bram Van Moorter, Christer M. Rolandsen, Mathieu Basille and Jean-Michel Gaillard. Journal of Animal Ecology
, Special Issue, 85, 1 (2016)