Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
Iryna Herzon
University of Helsinki

Golden Eagle conservation scheme




The scheme rewards the Sami Reindeer herding community in Finnish Lapland for the successful establishment of Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) nests and territories. The scheme was introduced in 1998 and replaced a former scheme that based payments to reindeer herders on the number of reindeers killed by the Golden Eagle.

The scheme was set up and is overseen in close collaboration between public authorities and Sami communes through the Eagle reimbursement group. This consists of the Natural Heritage Services, environmental authorities, reindeer owners and regional council of Sami, as well as researchers.

Location of the scheme

one region

The scheme is specific to the areas of Sami reindeer herding (or Poronhoitoalue) in the north of Finland. The area covers around 12,293,600 hectares, or about 36 per cent of Finland's land area. These are typically remote and natural areas consisting of wildlands, forest and tundra.

Duration of the scheme

Since: 1998

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity

Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Only birds of BD

Conservation of Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) in reindeer herding areas.

Which indicators are used?

  • Only BD Birds

The result indicator for this scheme is the observation of Eagle territories and nests containing chicks as well as their location in either tundra or forest. These act as a proxy for the reproduction success of the birds. Nests are usually checked from mid June to mid July in order to provide a more reliable chance of observing a chick.

Previously the scheme provided payments based on the number of dead livestock animals. However, there was a risk of participants abusing the scheme under this approach, as the control mechanism (the number of dead livestock) was not contingent on conservation outcomes. In addition, this approach had higher transaction costs for the herders.

Design of scheme / project

  • Pure Result Based Payments

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • National governmental financing

The payments are financed by the Finnish government, data are managed by the State Forest Agency and payments are paid by the regional centre of Lapland (the same organisation that manages ag

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Other

Payments are based on indicators of species reproduction success: number of territories and nests. The payment level for successful nests and territories changes annually in relation to the market price for reindeer meat and ranges from €708 to €3,540 depending on the zone (tundra or forest) and result (territory or nest).

In 2013, the payment was €708 per territory in a forest zone and €1,416 in a tundra zone. For a nest, it was €2,124 in a forest and € 3,540 in a tundra zones. The payment is higher in tundra because research indicates higher damage and predation rates of Reindeer occur in tundra areas. The payments for territories and nests are added together to form the overall payment to the commune. For example, a Sami commune in a forest zone may get €2,124 for one nest containing a chick and an additional €1,416 (2x €708) for two confirmed territories.

The payment for the number of territories and nests is a proxy for species reproduction success. The payments are made to the Sami communes as a common pool resource.

How many hectares are in the scheme?

  • More than 5.000

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Other

The monitoring framework is comprehensive and requires annual inventories of nests and monitoring of their success rate (for example, occupation rate of the known territories and number of chicks per nest). This is undertaken in cooperation with the Reindeer herders, rangers and volunteers.

Are there any evaluation results?

  • No

There has been no specific scientific evaluation of this scheme in relation to improving Golden Eagle numbers. However, awareness about the Golden Eagle population in Finland has increased dramatically and population numbers have been shown to have increased from the late 1990s. In 1998, only 294 territories were known while 498 had been identified in 2013, although it is unclear if the increase in population numbers is as a result of better conservation or better monitoring procedures.

Contact person

Iryna Herzon, University of Helsinki




The scheme is generally regarded as a success and since the late 1990s there has been an increase in the national population of Golden Eagles. However, it is difficult to determine if this increase is a result of scheme implementation or improvements in survey and monitoring of Eagles.

Attitudes of herders towards Golden Eagles are reported to have changed dramatically with the species now being seen as a resource rather than a pest. Poaching of Golden Eagle by reindeer herders, which was a serious problem since the species is responsible for a high proportion of overall reindeer mortality, has all but disappeared. Effective collaboration between the Sami herders and officials has been a key success factor in the scheme.