Reinsdyrstammen på Hardangervidda for stor
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Original versionFauna och flora 76(1981) Nr. 3, S. 97-104
Hardangervidda, in Southern Norway, is the largest mountain plateau in Europe (Fig. 1). It is approximately 10000 km2 in area and lies mostly between 1100 and 1300 m a.s.l. The topography and vegetational cover produce a strong mosaic pattern. The reindeer population has undergone great fluctuations in size, with an estimated low of ca 2-3000 wild reindeer and ca 2-3000 domestic reindeer in 1930. From 1954, the estimates of total population size are based on aerial censuses. In 1965 the herd size was ca 30 000. The population had decreased in 1971 to ca 7000. After the hunting season in 1978, there were still 14000 reindeer on Hardangervidda. This was about 4000 over the carrying capacity for the area as estimated in 1972, based on primary production investigations. Factors such as increase in tourism, decrease in available winterfood and selection hunting have caused a decrease in the reindeer's body weight. When the population increases too much, the only regulation possibility is hunting, since there are very few natural predators in the area. In the herd there are very few big males, and the hunting program does not take sufficient account of this problem. The hunting does not function as a good regulation mechanism when the population increases too much, because the individual hunting licenses are too much geographically limited.