Blanket bogs Photo from Wikimedia. What is the future of Icelandic forests, and are there any forests that you can visit during your trip to Iceland? unesdoc.unesco.org. This station would negatively affect more than 3,000 square kilometres of relatively intact habitat and its flora and fauna through the building of dams, reservoirs, and the diverting of natural streams and rivers. Over hundreds of years, more and more forests were turned into grasslands for cattle, until almost all the trees were cut. European Commission > The natural birch forests were estimated at 23,600 ha and shrubland (<2 m) 91,800 ha. Perhaps the most important product of birch was charcoal, which was necessary for metalworking. Stanners, D., and P. Bourdeau, editors. What is Icelandic weather like in June? Ice Age climate. All of the Bohn et al. This is because of the clear and concise reasons as to why afforestation is such a good combatant to further natural degradation. unesdoc.unesco.org. There are many speculations on the originality of the present birch stands. World Wildlife Fund Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 52-1693387) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Forests consist mainly of small areas of birch woodlands or plantations of native or exotic species, covering only 1.4 percent of the total land area ¿ the lowest coverage in Europe, apart from Malta. the Kola Peninsula, Iceland and southern Greenland. In populated areas, several types of trees grow. Arguably, however, the most crucial reason to continue and in fact accelerate the afforestation process in Iceland is down to domestic wood consumption. Weather is usually cold and wet, and blanket bogs are common. About The Birch Tree Forest. Continue... See a selection of wonderful photographs that capture the magic of the Northern Lights throughout Iceland. According to the late 12th century Íslendingabók, Ari the Wise described Iceland as "forested from mountain to sea shore". There are sixty-one Important Bird Areas in Iceland including Arnarvatnsheidi-Tvidaegra, Gudlaugstungur-Alfgeirsungur, and Thjorsarver (Heath & Evans 2000). The Laugavegur trek is the most famous hiking trail in Iceland and was voted among the top 20 treks in the world by Natural Geographic. Description Location and General DescriptionThis island is located far north in the Atlantic Ocean with its northern edge situated just south of the Arctic Circle. Vaglaskógur has well organized camp sites and recreational areas. Forest cover has been reduced to about 1% of the original birch forest by a long history of timber extraction and soil erosion caused by sheep grazing. Iceland's native tree species include Birch, Aspen and Rowan, though these are now widely considered to be unsuitable for withstanding the ever-warming climate of Iceland. But how did Iceland’s forests disappear in little under three hundred years? Vaglaskógur forest boasts some of the tallest and most beautiful birch trees in Iceland and is among the most popular forests in Iceland. A quick look around the friendship forest (...and quick it will be) hurriedly reveals a number of plaques attached to each tree, each of which is written in the language of the gift-bearers country. Evans, editors. Precipitation ranges anywhere from 400 to 1,000 mm. Around 75 per cent of Finland’s total land area is covered in forest. Europe Destinations. Since 1905, the forest has been the site of large scale trials of exotic species. Apr 3, 2013 - This Pin was discovered by Ricardo Moody. This habitat serves as an important refueling stop for many migratory birds from Arctic breeding grounds to warmer wintering sites. Regarding berries, visitors will find an abundance of raspberries and redcurrants, dependant, of course, on what time of year one visits. Another important reason to clear the forests was the need to utilise the land for agriculture. Icing on the cake is the waterfall Systrafoss (Sister's Falls). We have compared genetic material from birch on Skeiarrsandur and birch in three birch forests nearby and now have its paternity test results, if you will, Kristinn Ptur Magnsson, Professor of Genetics at the University of Akureyri, explained to RV reporters recently. It was only a joke, based solely around this area’s nickname and the fact its trees are somewhat diminutive in size. Soils are andosols and podzols, without permafrost but with turbulent movement of saturated soil on slopes. Drainage of wetlands for agriculture has not only changed the natural habitat, but also affected populations of birds that lived there. 1995. 1:10 million. http://www.iceland.org. The relatively tall (to 15 m) birch forests of sheltered valleys graded to birch and willow scrub toward the coast, on exposed sites and in wetland areas and … Tea-Leaved Willow (Salix phylicifolia) Tea-leaved willow is more of a shrub than a tree, but it does occasionally get to be tree-sized. Take, for instance, the lack of forest birds in the country such as the Eurasian wren and the common redpoll; this is a direct consequence of the fact that these creatures do not have the habitat to survive here in large populations. The first settlers of Iceland brought sheep, pigs and horses with them. Gorgeous flowers have begun to grow and fill the area with beautiful, colorful flowers in summer, such as garden angelica, wild angelica, sea pea, and arctic river beauty. ReferencesBohn, Udo, Gisela Gollub, and Christoph Hettwer. Iceland Foods. The Scandinavian Montane Birch forests and grasslands ecoregion, a ... (also in Iceland and the Kamtchatka peninsula). Some of the afforestation results from the spread of native downy birch (Betula pubescens), which is the only native forest-forming tree species, from remnant stands fenced against grazing sheep. Hekla Forest lies on a small farm near the base of Mount Hekla, Iceland's most active volcano, which was visible from the guest hut we were staying in (pictured above). However, fossil evidence indicates that a mixed boreal forest grew in Iceland before the onset of Ice Age glaciations. Creative Commons. Next to the station is a 50 year-old planted forest where imported trees grow together with Iceland's only domestic tree, the birch. Every year thousands of guests enjoy a stay in the forest which is ideal for outings. See also: Where to Stay in … The forest was designed to help promote educational and environmental values of the birch tree forest. Current StatusErosion is responsible for thousands of kilometers of destroyed vegetation. Today, forests cover less than half a percent of the island. Even in the capital city of Helsinki there are sizeable forested areas, some of which are designated nature reserves. The national forests are popular with the public for recreation, and 7,000 Icelanders (about 2.5 percent of the population) are members of the Icelandic Forestry Association – by far the largest environmental NGO in Iceland. During the winter months, certain trails are also converted to allow for off-piste skiing and snowboarding, two sports that are highly popular amongst the Akureyri locality. WWF® and ©1986 Panda Symbol are owned by WWF. Gorgeous flowers have begun to grow and fill the area with beautiful, colorful flowers in summer, such as garden angelica, wild angelica, sea pea, and arctic river beauty. It is also a clear and readymade source for nesting and food. La ceinture nordique de forêt sub-arctique-sub-alpine de bouleaux à Fennoscandia, Peninsule [...] de Kola, en Islande et au sud du Groënland est unique. About 2-5 million years ago, during the Pliocene era, the species changed to things like spruce or birch and other boreal-type forests. However, fossil evidence indicates that a mixed boreal forest grew in Iceland before the onset of Ice Age glaciations. Iceland is considered a rather barren country, however, the country's forests have grown considerably over the past decades due to the government’s afforestation plan. One thousand years ago, upon the then-recent settlement of Norsemen to Iceland, approximately 40% of the countryside was forested. Creative Commons, by Laurentgauthier, Embark on the adventure of a lifetime on a. IUCN 2000: The Global Redlist of Species, of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Jóhannesson—is the Friendship Forest’s official guardian, whilst its care and maintenance are left to the Icelandic Forest Service. New lava flows and ash from the volcanoes have sometimes covered vast areas of land, damaging or destroying the vegetation cover in the process. Biodiversity FeatureThis ecoregion is rich in bird diversity, over three hundred species have been observed. By around the year 1000 AD, reported the Museum of Iceland, the native birch forests had all but disappeared. Hallormsstaður National Forest is considered to be Iceland's largest forest. © 2020 World Wildlife Fund. This 4-day trek brings you from the geothermal wonderland of Landmannalaugar to the birch forests of Þórsmörk, up the ancient … Over 85 foreign tree species have been introduced to Iceland, the most common and triumphant to flourish include the sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta).These varieties originate from Alaska and are grown as a sapling in Icelandic greenhouses as it is illegal to import live trees into Iceland. Forests are like water in Finland: ever-present, including in the major cities. Nice groves with quite a number of tree species in beautiful landscape. Sixty-one Important Bird Areas (IBAs) supporting almost three hundred bird species located on the island. As of 2016, forests only made up 1.9 percent of Iceland, according to the Icelandic Forest Service. Now large areas of the island are suffering from heavy soil erosion and desertification. Wetlands and coastal cliffs serve as spaces for colonizing birds. Végétation du Continent Européen., Delachaux et Niestlé, Lausanne, Switzerland. The Forests of Iceland | Foresting a Treeless Land, Guide to Iceland | The Story of the Leading Travel Agency of Iceland, Iceland in June | Everything You Need to Know. An abandoned farm with considerable woodlands, native birch shrubs and a mix of planted conifers. Some of the most active volcanic areas lie underneath these glaciers so that when eruption takes place, it leads to huge meltwater floods and explosive activity. Photo/Daníel Rúnarsson . Development and Nature. So no, whilst the Friendship Forest cannot really be described as a forest, or indeed much of a wooded area, it would be remiss for us to miss it from our article, especially given the notion that it is a little more than a five-minute point of interest on the Golden Circle route. Iceland has the largest glacier in all of Europe, Vatnajökull. What is the best way to experience the summer solstice? 1994. The island's forest cover likely fell below 1 percent in the mid-20th century, and birch forests now cover 1.5 percent of Iceland, while cultivated forests … 1.2 Assessment of SOC change in Iceland. In fact, the Friendship Forest is not a forest at all, but rather a ceremonial garden, set out in the sticks of the western countryside, dedicated to Iceland’s international relationships with other nation states. That amounts to around 492 km 2 out of a land area of 103,000 km 2, according to the United Nations Global Forest Resource Assessment in 2015. 9°C). Egilsstaðir is the largest town in this quarter of the country, boasting a population of over 2000 people, as well as a hospital, airport and college. There was still no way, however, that the early settlers could have had any real comprehension of the environmental damage that was being done, not to mention the many years of repair afforestation would take. 2000. We arrived during a downpour, which kept us indoors for the first day. The island is volcanic in origin with basaltic soils, and the cold northerly climate prevents any significant crop agriculture. For Saemundur Thorvaldsson, a government forester who works with volunteer groups and farmers in the Westfjords region of northern Iceland, the “right” tree about 30 … When Iceland was first settled, it was extensively forested. The resourceful hiking experts and mountain guides at TREK Iceland have compiled a list of the best hikes in Iceland for you. This constant need for sustenance, of course, was bound to lay waste to the surrounding country... the settlers needed every resource they could get their hands on. Photo/Stöð 2. Iceland has a relatively mild coastal climate due to the effect of the Gulf . How long is the period in which you can experience the midnight sun in Iceland? Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. But over the centuries, deforestation has reduced this to just 5%. Small numbers of Rowan however spread along within the birch stands. Checkout Securely Sign in now to see the latest offers & book a delivery slot. Eighty-eight species have, up to recently, been nesting regularly in the country. On Iceland it is the only tree species in the wild that manages to survive. 1: Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia and Middle East. It consists of the entire island of Iceland not covered by permanent ice. Over the years, foreign dignitaries invited to Iceland have, alongside those in charge, planted a tree in order to signify their allegiance with our small, Nordic nation. your own Pins on Pinterest birch forest - Egilsstaðir Airport photo gallery . In Iceland, with practically no forests until recently and only one native forest-forming tree species, obtaining seed of the right species and provenances has long been and still is the most important issue affecting progress in forestry. unesdoc.unesco.org. Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Guerber, H. A. Wikimedia. Covering approximately 600 hectares, over one million different trees have been planted in Kjarnaskógur in the last fifty years. What temperature will it be in Reykjavík and elsewhere on the map? unesdoc.unesco.org. Due to these amenities, Egilsstaðir is still considered to be an administrative centre of east Iceland, as was the town’s intention upon being founded in 1947. Birch, willow and grass became more and more prominent at the same time as the forest cover was diminishing. Find out more about our tree planting projects in Iceland and see how you can help plant trees in the Dragon's Nest Forest of Iceland. The region is home to sweeping valleys and mountain ranges, dotted with lava fields, large glaciers, hot springs and impressive waterfalls. Book your complete trip with the best companies only. Around 1950, efforts were made on part of the locals to rejuvenate the area, hence the planting of spruces, birches, aspens and pines. diploma thesis in Forest Botany. Harvesting of birch generally ceased during the 1940s, but a few natural birch forests have been managed for wood production by single-tree selection for over a century (Blöndal & Gunnarsson 1999). The most popular being birch, poplar and rowan trees. My Delivery. When the vikings came first to Iceland in the year 874, all of Icelandic lowlands were covered with forest, though only birch, rowan and willow, the forest coverage was around 25-40%. Today they form only a very small part (1%) of the coverage of the land of Iceland. The forest is a popular outdoor area in a diverse landscape. 1952 saw the very first tree plantings with an intention on the part of the local municipality to grow Kjarnaskógur so large that it fully encircled Akureyri. Book Delivery. Of these, fourty-two species are of European conservation concern. Birch forest in Skaftafell, South Iceland. Plant colonization of these areas is slowed by thin soils and slow vegetative succession. One hundred years ago, Öskjuhlíð resembled nothing of what it did today. The average temperature is 6°C in July, with average highs of 24. Öskjuhlíð hill and woodlands, found in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík, can be easily identified from two major factors: the large birch trees that seem to cut into the sky and the shining dome that is Perlan Museum and observation deck. Domestic timber sales have increased since 2008, when a financial crisis in Iceland made wood imports much more expensive. The Traveling Viking, Akureyri Picture: Special moment : view from an old Icelandic birch forest - Check out Tripadvisor members' 8,138 candid photos and videos. The first of these reasons is to fix soil erosion, a problem exacerbated by the fact that almost all land in Iceland is used for sheep grazing. Most of the vegetation and agricultural areas are in the lowlands close to the coastline. All lands managed by the Icelandic Forest Service are classified as National Forests, of which there are 53 patches across Iceland, excluding the Westfjords region. Explore this area on a self drive tour in Iceland. Iceland is a country of dramatically rugged landscapes. The interior of the country is largely arctic desert, with mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls. Yet if a glacier or active volcano would be considered exotic in southern California, then a forest ought to be considered exotic in Iceland. Creative Commons, by Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia. Vinaskógur’s location was chosen to remind its visitors as to the importance of peace, friendship and connection among all men. Long-tailed field mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) are abundant here, and are the only rodents. In the sediment layers in Breiðuvík in Tjörnes, plant remains are found at the bottom of the layers. The Iceland boreal birch forests and alpine tundra ecoregion (WWF ID:PA0602) covers the island of Iceland in the North Atlantic. One of the Iceland Forest Service’s major ambitions is to have afforested 12% of the country by the year 2100. At the time of human settlement almost 1150 years ago, birch forest and woodland covered 25-40% of Iceland's land area. Vegetation consists of the following: Betula nana, Betula pubescens, Salix phylicifolia, Cetraria nivalis, Xanthoria elegans, X. candelaria, Alectoria ochroleuca, Rumex acetosa, Carex chordorrhiza, Carex rostrata, Ranunculus trichophyllus, Angelica archangelica, Ranunculus acris, Geranium silvaticum, Potamogeton filiformis, Erigeron borealis, Achillea millefolium. Digital Map of European Ecological Regions (DMEER), Version 2000/05, (https://selectra.co.uk/guides/european-environmental-agency). Which mountains are the most beautiful mountains in Iceland, where are they located and what kind of mountains can you find in Iceland? Many foreign trees have been planted, though notably larch and pine, as well as spruce of several species. global.expandsearch. Explore. The new reforestation initiative will commence on July 1. Forests and woodlands act as an essential escape from the rat race, allowing people to reconnect with nature and learn more about their environment. All of these scenarios and more must be thought out to the highest degree before the Icelandic Forest Service begins to implement a new afforestation programme. Introduced species such as is the American mink are also a threat to colonies of birds, which make up their diet. When Iceland was first settled at the end of the ninth century, much of the land on or near the coast was covered in birch woodlands. This means that the low lying vegetation essential for a fertile landscape is often eaten, thus pulling the roots from the soil and diminishing it of any useful nutrients. Photo from Wikimedia. The cooling climate would lead to a glaciation that would mark the start of Iceland’s forest decline. Pine, fir and birch trees are significant features of the landscape. Europe's environment: The Dobris assessment. 2010). Some of these routes lead right down to the picturesque shoreline, Nauthólsvík, and continue along toward the coast at Seltjarnarnes. Ozenda, P. 1994. It is clear that afforesting Iceland is very much at the forefront of this nation’s environmental plan. For two to three months in summer there is continuous daylight in Iceland, and early spring and late autumn enjoy long twilight. in Iceland was estimated as being 156,800 ha, divided into natural downy birch (Betula pubescens) woodland (115,400 ha) and forest plantations (41,400 ha). Iceland boreal birch forests and alpine tundra Iceland, the second largest island in the North-Atlantic Ocean (c. 103,000 square kilometers), is entirely volcanic and composed of basaltic rock. All rights reserved. This type of erosion spreads like cancer across the landscape, affecting ever larger regions whilst threatening those that are still hospitable for life. 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