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Good News for a Change: Reforesting Iceland

Trees provide us with so many things necessary for survival like air, clean water, and food along with habitat for our fellow creatures. Therefore reforestation efforts provide a wide range of benefits. One remarkable recent example may be found in Iceland, where all of the separate projects to grow more trees in Iceland have now been united under a single government reforestation agenda.

"Among the first things that visitors to Iceland usually notice are that it is not as warm as where they came from and there is a lack of forests in the landscape. Logically, they connect these two facts and come to the conclusion that Iceland is too cold for forests. This impression is often reinforced when they see the “forests” of low-growing and crooked native birch. However, over a century of forestry has proven that this is not the case, that it is past land-use and not climate that explains the treeless landscape. In fact, forests grow as well in Iceland as they do in parts of the world where forestry is a major industry." (Icelandic Forest Service, 2017.) 

Deforestation in Iceland and overgrazing by sheep caused a loss of topsoil due to erosion. Forests comprise only about 0.3% of Iceland’s total land area. Historically, birch forest and woodland covered some 25% to 40% of Iceland at the time of the first human settlements some 1,140 years ago. Clearing trees for pasture land, building materials and fuel contributed to Iceland’s signature landscape today.

WATCH: Iceland Is Growing New Forests for the First Time in 1,000 Years | Short Film Showcase (5:21) - National Geographic


Icelandic Forest Service, 2017 - viewed 14.01.2018

National Geographic You Tube Showcase, Published on 13 Jan 2018 -viewed 14.01.2018


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