This study reports the methods used and the results from the mapping of the wild reindeer range Forollhogna in Central Norway. Landsat 7 ETM and IRS 1C satellite imageries were used in the mapping. The spatial resolution of the IRS 1C data was enhanced to 5 meter by merging the panchromatic and the multi-spectral bands together.
A 'new' method for mapping of the accessible winter pastures was developed and tested in this project. Our assumption is that the areas without or with thin snow cover late in the winter and in the calving period is the most accessible winter pastures during the whole winter period. We used the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) image based on a Landsat ETM+ image acquired on 19th of May 2002 in order to mask these areas. The areas of the vegetation types within these masked areas were estimated (km2), and these data were used in the estimation of the reindeer carrying capacity. The winter carrying capacity for wild reindeer in Forollhogna using the NSDI-index was estimated to be more than 4200 reindeer, while the winter capacity without this snow mask was estimated to be more than 6700 reindeer. Based on this study, we have recommended an increase of the number of reindeer from the actual population level of 1750 reindeer to more than 2000 reindeer.