In this paper a compartment model of the highly vulnerable Arctic terrestrial food chain "lichen-reindeer-man" is outlined. Based upon an analysis of measured (137)Cs and (90)Sr contents in lichen and reindeer meat from 1961 up to 2001, site specific model parameters for two regions in north-western Arctic Russia and for Kautokeino municipality in Arctic Norway have been determined. The dynamics of radionuclide activity concentrations in the "lichen-reindeer-man" food chain for all areas was satisfactorily described by a double exponential function with short-term and long-term effective ecological half-lives between 1-2 and 10-12 years, respectively, for both (137)Cs and (90)Sr. Using parameter values derived from the model, life-time internal effective doses due to consumption of reindeer meat by reindeer-breeders after an assumed single pulse deposit of 1 kBq m(-2) of (137)Cs were estimated to be 11.4 mSv (Kola Peninsula), 5 mSv (Nenets Autonomous Area), and 2 mSv (Kautokeino, Norway). Differences in vulnerability to radiocaesium deposition were due to differences in transfer between lichen and reindeer and in diet between the three regions.