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Impact of Reindeer Herding and Cutting on Ground Lichens

At the site, you can explore the impact of reindeer grazing and cutting on ground lichens in pine forests representing different forest development classes.

The fence used to divide the forests included in the study into two sections. An unfenced section on one side, where reindeer were allowed to graze, and a fenced-in area on the other, which reindeer could not access during a specific period.

The site is one of forty-nine surveyed forest stands, where the impact of reindeer grazing and forest management on the coverage and biomass of the Cladonia species of lichen was studied. The forest stands included in the study were divided into two sections: an unfenced section where reindeer were allowed to graze, and an area protected by fencing, which reindeer could not access during a specific period. The fences were originally constructed for other purposes on average 40 years before the trial measurement (inventory), which meant that lichens had been allowed to grow inside the enclosures for quite a long time. The measurements have not been repeated as of yet.

The forests included in the study consisted of xeric and sub-xeric pine forests, which naturally have an abundance of lichens.

The main result of the study was the identification of the significant impact of reindeer grazing on both the coverage and biomass of lichens. The tree density and the development class in the forest stands also had a clear effect on the lichens – particularly in forest stands where grazing was more intensive. In the forest stands used for grazing, lichens were more abundant in old and relatively sparse forest stands and least abundant in denser sapling stands.


The area is located in the Tavivaara cemetery, approximately 15 kilometres south from Rovaniemi. This site can also be explored independently.


From the centre of Rovaniemi, drive approximately 10 kilometres along the Kemijoen itäpuolentie road. Turn left at the Tavivaara sign and continue approximately 2.5 kilometres, until you reach the car park of the Tavivaara cemetery. The area is fenced-off and you can observe the site by walking along the fencing. Coordinates: x = 441578, y = 7368318.

Recommended time for visiting

The area may be visited when the ground is unfrozen, as the lichen cannot be observed if the ground is covered by snow.

Necessary equipment

Suitable hiking equipment.

Owner of the site

Rovaniemi Parish

Contact person

Senior Scientists Ville Hallikainen, and Pasi Rautio

Additional information:


verkkologo luke