The Jokkmokk observatory is located in Swedish Lapland, in the grazing areas of the three herding communities of Jåhkågasska, Sirges and Tuorpon in the county of Norrbotten, boreal Sweden. The territory of each herding community lies adjacent to its neighbour’s, running from north-est to south-east (Figure 1). All of the herding communities are mountain based, which means that they move with their reindeer from summer pastures located in the Scandinavian mountain range to winter pastures located in the forests, where the reindeer predominantly rely on lichen for forage.
Most of the study area is covered by managed forests, dominated by Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). The area lies at an altitude of between 20 and 617 m. a. s. l., along the valley of the Lule River. The mean annual temperature is -1°C, ranging from -14°C in January to +14°C in July. There are approximately 200 to 225 days of snow per year, with an average maximum depth of 70 to 90 cm (1961-1990 data from SMHI) with notable variations in snow depth due to differences in elevation within the study area.
Jokkmokk represents an important place for Sami culture in northern Sweden and in Sápmi – the famous Jokkmokk’s market has been running for more than 400 years – and a large proportion of its inhabitants are Sami people and reindeer herders.
By Samuel Roturier
Sirges Reindeer Herding Community:
Olof Thomas Utsi
Sirges Sameby, contact person: Mats-Peter Åstot
General information about the observatory:
Date of start:
Working language(s): Swedish, Sámigiella, English