The fast and furious world of reindeer racing

Don’t ever ask a Sámi person how many reindeer he owns. It’s about as polite as asking someone in Britain how much cash he’s got in the bank. But enquire after the health of his reindeer, or which are the ‘stand-out’ specimens in his herd of between 300 and 1,000, and you will be fine. In fact, get ready for a detailed response from someone whose Arctic community often still lives symbiotically with its animals.  Racing reindeer has been popular among Sámi people for hundreds of years, but began receiving wider attention in 2005, when the Midnight Sun Marathon organisers and the Sámi Valáštallan Lihttu sporting body arranged the first championships to be run in Tromsø in Norway.

The march of the larch: the Treeline is now encroaching on the arctic tundra

Covering 20 per cent of the Earth’s surface, the boreal forest is the largest living system, or ‘biome’, on land. It contains one third of all the planet’s trees and encircles much of the northern hemisphere in a halo of green. The northernmost extent of this forest, called the treeline, marks the point beyond which it is too cold for trees to grow. This is perhaps not where you’d expect to find Ben Rawlence, an author and journalist whose previous books have focused on humanitarian crises in Africa. But, as he explains in The Treeline, things are changing alarmingly fast in this biome: ‘The trees are on the move. They