Polar Project

CHARTER is a research project that is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme. CHARTER grew out of a desire to better understand the processes that have been driving rapid climate and land use changes in the Arctic. The name comes from the project title: Drivers and Feedbacks of Changes in Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity. The project started in August 2020 and will run for 4 years. CHARTER involves 21 research institutions across 9 countries (see the full list here). 

CHARTER is coordinated d by the Arctic Centre, University of Lapland and the project leader is Research Professor Bruce Forbes. CHARTER works mainly in northern Europe and Northwest Russia. Changes in climate and land use affect Arctic biodiversity, as well as snow cover, sea ice and permafrost. Changes in these, in turn, have other consequences and feedbacks to Arctic regional climate. These changes are not merely of academic interest.

They are especially felt by those working on the land, such as reindeer herders. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the 2013/4 severe icing event on the world’s most productive reindeer herding region of Yamal, Northwest Russia, where it is estimated that Nenets reindeer herders lost at least 61,000 reindeer, perhaps as many as one fifth of all reindeer in that region. Some herding families lost all their reindeer and have reverted to fishing in order to remain in the tundra while they attempt to rebuild their herds before another such catastrophe may strike. Poor winter grazing conditions in winter 2019/20 led to the death of as many as 15,000 reindeer in Finland, which had large financial consequences for herders along with a substantially increased workload.


Bruce Forbes, University of Lapland


Sirpa Rasmus - Project Manager, University of Lapland



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