Military protection object protects reindeer pastures

In several Sami villages there is great concern after Sweden’s entry into NATO. The military expansion is expected to result in new land being claimed by the defence.

But not everyone is negative. Outside Kåbdalis, south of Jokkmokk, is the Defense Materiel Works test area. It is 7 miles long and 3.5 miles wide. An area that is classified as a protected object. Within the same area there are also three Sami villages, Udtja, Luokta Mavas and Tuorpon.

– This is a military protection object, so the public does not have access here. We have an environmental permit that we take good care of and it is also a Natura 2000 area. So we pay particular attention to how we conduct ourselves in here, says Claes Nilsson, test site manager Vidsel Test Range.

Favors reindeer husbandry

Within the test area, an extensive infrastructure is available, in the form of, among other things, equipment for measurement and observation.

The area is untouched, there are old pine forests and hanging lichen forests, something that favors reindeer husbandry. From the Sami village’s side, they are positive about FMV’s activities because it keeps land exploiters away.

See no downsides

– We probably have them to thank for the fact that we have such beautiful, untouched land. If they hadn’t been here, we would have guaranteed wind farms, mines and forestry here, says Robert Edelbro, vice-chairman of Udtja forest society.

Do you see any disadvantages to them conducting their business here?

– A quick answer, no. Not at the moment, says Robert Edelbro.

For FMV, it is a basic requirement that it is a protective object all around.

– We wouldn’t have been able to run our business here otherwise, says Claes Nilsson.

See more about how the increased defense and NATO entry affect the Sami villages in 15 minutes from Sápmi with the season premiere on Saturday.