Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Sápmi



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Sápmi

Sápmi is the region of the Sami population, population plundered of their lands by rising temperatures and changing ecosystem. In 1996 an area of ​​9,600 square kilometers called Lapland, Lapland region or Lapland area and located in the Swedish part of Lapland was included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

95% of this region is protected as a national park or nature reserve. Although Lapland has a semi-national connotation, which transcends the existing borders between the four states on which it is divided, there has never been and there is no push for complete autonomy.

The Sami parliaments, founded in Norway (1989), Sweden (1993) and Finland (1996), have a weak political weight whose main task is to work for the preservation of the Sami culture. Nonetheless, the still unresolved questions of land tenure and grazing rights for reindeer herds are also on the agenda of these bodies.

The Sami minority in Russia does not enjoy any particular political recognition.

Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Sápmi

Reindeer, wolf, bear, and birds are the main forms of animal life, in addition to a myriad of insects in the short summer.

Sea and river fisheries abound in the region. Steamers are operated on some of the lakes, and many ports are ice-free throughout the year. All ports along the Norwegian Sea in the west and the Barents Sea in the northeast to Murmansk are ice-free all year.

The Gulf of Bothnia usually freezes over in winter. The following towns and villages have a significant Sami population or host Sami institutions. Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, or Russian toponyms are in parentheses. The ocean floor to the north and west of Sápmi has deposits of petroleum and natural gas.

Sápmi contains valuable mineral deposits, particularly iron ore in Sweden, copper in Norway, and nickel and apatite in Russia. The climate is subarctic and vegetation is sparse, except in the densely forested southern portion.

The mountainous west coast has significantly milder winters and more precipitation than the large areas east of the mountain chain. North of the Arctic Circle polar night characterize the winter season and midnight sun the summer season—both phenomena are longer the further north you go. Traditionally, the Sami divide the year in eight seasons instead of four.