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Land 2017, 6(3), 63; doi:10.3390/land6030063

Wolf and Bear Depredation on Livestock in Northern Sweden 1827–2014: Combining History, Ecology and Interviews

1
Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7016, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
2
Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
3
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural sciences, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 16 September 2017
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Abstract

During the twenty-first century, large carnivores have increased in human dominated landscapes after being extinct or nearly extinct. This has resulted in increasing numbers of livestock killed by large carnivores. The intent of this paper is to give a land use-historical perspective on the recent livestock–carnivore conflict in boreal Sweden. More specifically we address: (1) depredation risks (livestock killed by carnivores) and (2) local knowledge of how to protect livestock from predation and whether it survived among pastoralists until the present. This study provides numeric information on carnivores, livestock and depredation, combined with oral information from summer farmers about livestock protection. We compare recent (since 1998) and historical (late nineteenth century) depredation rates in two Swedish counties. In Dalarna recent depredation rates are higher than historical rates while the opposite pattern is seen in Jämtland. Recent depredation rates in Dalarna are twice the recent rates in Jämtland, in contrast to the historical situation. Recent and historical depredation rates are of the same order. Summer farmers traditionally graze their livestock in forested areas where carnivores reside. Interviews show that traditional knowledge of how to protect livestock from carnivores was lost during the twentieth century, but recently new knowledge has developed leading to changes in summer farming practices. The carnivore–livestock situation today differs from the historical situation, not so much in levels of depredation, but mainly regarding the possibilities of farmers to face challenges associated with increasing carnivore populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: carnivores; livestock depredation; wolves; bears; traditional knowledge; summer farms carnivores; livestock depredation; wolves; bears; traditional knowledge; summer farms
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Axelsson Linkowski, W.; Kvarnström, M.; Westin, A.; Moen, J.; Östlund, L. Wolf and Bear Depredation on Livestock in Northern Sweden 1827–2014: Combining History, Ecology and Interviews. Land 2017, 6, 63.

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