Reforestation projects and woodland planting schemes have continued ever since. Trees are increasingly used to enhance the beauty of the landscape, for example, on wild areas alongside highways, where they also help to clean the atmosphere of pollutants. Trees and shrubbery carpet the foothills around the cliffs of the old coastline. Around 1100 years ago the climate was warmer than it is now, and the glaciers were smaller than they are at the present time, even though there has been accelerating melting of the Icelandic glaciers for many decades. Loves writing, food, runes, Reykjavík life, traveling in Iceland and being out in nature. Holt og heidar sells wild mushrooms and birch syrup, among other prodcuts. You can find out more about Þórsmörk and the day and multi-day tours which can take you there here. Whenever I think back to that moment, the distinctive fresh scent which wafted through that open coach window comes strongly to mind. Today, Skógar, situated just off the Ring Road 148 km (92 mi) from Reykjavík, is, once again, gloriously green with plentiful trees. At this time, the National Forest Service increased its reforestation to help bring up the number of trees … Only a few feet away, cars and tour buses were roaring by, their occupants oblivious to perhaps Iceland’s most famous tree. So, there is now evidence that Iceland was even more heavily forested in older pre-settlement times than people had thought. With so much lava many parts of Iceland do not have the depth of soil required to support the growth of trees. Reforestation projects began around 1900, although they were under consideration a little before then. While 50-60% of the island was covered in vegetation at the time of human arrival, the decline to the current 25% has been the result of soil loss caused by deforestation for firewood and timber, and overgrazing by sheep. Because the island is young and isolated from larger land masses, species biodiversity is relatively low. Slanted sunlight casting long shadows. Gradually more and more segments of land were blended in until the forest reached its present size. Therefore, diameters of birch stems are usually measured at 0.5 meters (d 0.5), knee-height (Jónsson 2004, Snorrason and Einarsson 2006, Hunziker et al. The Þrastalundur Restaurant (Thrastalundur) is very popular offering an extensive menu and lovely views over Sogið, a forested nature reserve on the beautiful river. , Because the Gulf Stream has a moderating effect, portions of Iceland have an Oceanic climate (subpolar variety) (Koppen Cfc). These were no ordinary floods but truly giant versions of the Jökulhlaups (glacial runs in English), for which Iceland is famous. We will get on it! around 9.6 km (6 mi) from the city center. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir. The 6 Day Around Iceland, 7 Day Complete Iceland, or 8 Day Around Iceland tours would all take you to Hallormsstadaskógur. I knew the area around the airport was composed of craggy lava and steaming geothermal areas, and that trees need soil, yet, somehow, I was totally unprepared for the treeless landscapes which greeted me! All rights reserved. Iceland doesn’t really have orchards, but fruit and even cherry trees have been grown in sheltered places. Fossils, place names, the remnants of charcoal and climate modeling suggest that 25% to 40% of Iceland was forested when the Vikings came. The road is rough, and a powerful river has to be crossed on the way, you either need a sturdy 4×4 insured for river crossings or to take a tour. Iceland once had authentic forests – mostly consisting of resilient birch trees – but it had suffered drastic, total deforestation at the hands of its first settlers, the Vikings. All about Trees in Iceland | Why are there no trees in Iceland? , Iceland is a volcanic plateau rising out of the Atlantic 290 km east of Greenland. Please be informed the office will be closed on December 24th - 27th, 31st and 1st of January 2021 due to Holiday season. It stretches from the base of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, all the way to the ocean. Size is 11.8 H x 11.8 W x 0.6 in. For me, there is something very special about being surrounded by scented birch and spruce trees as the forest enfolds me in its special embrace, with curvaceous Icelandic mountains towering over the valley. Another 60,000 km2 is sparsely or very sparsely covered invegetation. The Icelandic Foss distillery now bottles Icelandic nature in the form of Björk birch liqueur and birch schnapps. You can see a map of Heiðmörk here. The One Tree Planted organisation is asking for small donations to help preserve Icelandic land and wildlife. These were no ordinary floods but truly giant versions of the Jökulhlaups (glacial runs in English), for which Iceland is famous. Majestic Arctic fulmars and other birds can be seen flying around the up to 100 m high cliffs. Trees in Iceland have enjoyed very mixed fortunes since the Vikings arrived more than 1,100 years ago – today, delightful trees and peaceful Icelandic forests await your discovery. Free Delivery Over €75. V. olcanic ash, dust and clays has even been utilized as an active ingredient in fertilizers. In time, the birch trees that covered the area were removed to create farms and for use in building materials and for heating. Ásbyrgi, protected by the cliffs of the 3.5 km long canyon, is home to one of the most delightful forests in Iceland. Þórsmörk is located 151 km (93.8 mi) from Reykjavík in the Southern Highlands of Iceland. This is the perfect place to sit in silence to marvel at the glory of Icelandic nature. Wild red currants and raspberries grow in some places, in Iceland these are ripe for picking quite late in the summer, usually in the latter half of August. A little bit of an exaggeration, but trees were remarkable by their scarcity, and there were few wooded areas in most parts of the country not much more than 100 years ago. There are 483 species of vascular plants recorded in Iceland. Once upon a time the island’s forests were dispatched even before they reached middle age. The sediment deposited by the flood may have been a crucial factor in the success of the area’s new birch trees. Taking a tour is recommended if you are not used to extremely rough terrain driving. Not anymore. Downy birch is really the only commercially valuable tree in Iceland, so this particular species has been a target for reforestation efforts. These were the only native trees in Iceland. This 170 hectare area will involve planting trees on the lower, south-facing slopes on the farm “Dragon's Nest" named after its' former owner. You can travel to Heiðmörk from Reykjavík without a car, Strætó service number 5 to Norðlingaholt will take you close enough, you can see the timetable, Þrastalundur is richly vegetated, with shrubbery and forested areas at Grímsnes, 801 Selfoss, about 9 km (5.6 mi) from the center of Selfoss, following the. Another introduced species is the Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) which is now widespread in wooded areas. It is known that a few million years ago a wider variety of tree species grew in Iceland than in settlement times. 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. A $1 donation will equal the planting of one tree. Here, we have put together t... We've sent you an email to confirm your subscription. For those who want to stay overnight, from May to September a camping ground is operated at Systragil, just opposite Vaglaskógur. So, there is now evidence that Iceland was even more heavily forested in older pre-settlement times than people had thought. Skógar means ‘Forest’ in English, when the Viking settlers came to Iceland, this was one of many fertile and lushly forested places. Nearby, you will find a stream which contains water of drinkable quality, this water has the most amazing fresh taste – be sure to bring a bottle or beaker so you can try it! You will see the gurgling Fnjóská, a river which is very popular with salmon fisherman, on your left, and high mountains, particularly on your right side, as you head to Vaglaskógur. 1.3 m (Philip 1983). About 1,360 km2 is employed in crop agriculture, and about 1,250 km2 of the original white birch (Betula pubescens) forest remains. Around 1100 years ago the climate was warmer than it is now, and the glaciers were smaller than they are at the present time, even though there has been accelerating melting of the Icelandic glaciers for many decades. Icelandic birch and a birch bolete. The birch is not a wide tree so does not encroach on its surroundings. Þórsmörk is located 151 km (93.8 mi) from Reykjavík in the Southern Highlands of Iceland. Prior to the first human settlements, about a fourth of Iceland was covered in woodland – especially by the coast. Name: Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), also known as Canoe Birch.. Because the island is young and isolated from larger land masses, species biodiversity is relatively low.  There are no reptiles or amphibians in Iceland. View top-quality stock photos of Icelandic Downy Birch Tree At Thingvellir National Park South Iceland. Continuous vegetation covers approximately 25% of the island, 16,000 km2 of which is dryland vegetation and 10,000 km2 of wetlands. My advice is to rejoice in the rain which sometimes falls in spring and summer, the scent of the birch trees in Iceland is at its most intense and glorious then. , a glacier tongue of Vatnajökull. One of the most stunning and famous forests in Iceland is Þórsmörk (Thorsmork), the name literally means ‘Þór´s Wood’. Besides birch, there are some stands of Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Tea-leaved willow (Salix phylicifolia). Þrastalundur is richly vegetated, with shrubbery and forested areas at Grímsnes, 801 Selfoss, about 9 km (5.6 mi) from the center of Selfoss, following the Ring Road, then Road 35. There are more than 550 species of lichens, and over 1200 species of funghi. The Ásbyrgi camping ground is open from May to September. I have walked in this forest in the middle of summer, and, also, when snow lay on the ground, each time it was special and magical. A miniature birch tree grows out from among a thick, green covering of vibrant moss at Laki, or Lakagigar, in southern Iceland. Facilities include horse and boat rentals and a lake-side hotel. Consequently, biomass models from As well as being totally charming Heiðmörk is so accessible from Reykjavík, yet you feel you are way out of the city. By the 1950s, only 1 percent of the land in Iceland had trees. The Birch trees have a life of 30 to 200 years depending on the variety and the species. In even older times those glaciers were far smaller, the remains of a massive 3000-year-old forest have been discovered under. Iceland is a true waterfall paradise, everywhere you look, it seems, water is drizzling down in the most gorgeous streams you will want to stop and admire them for hours. You will see the gurgling Fnjóská, a river which is very popular with salmon fisherman, on your left, and high mountains, particularly on your right side, as you head to Vaglaskógur. This forest is not only the largest in Iceland, it is one of the most beautiful. The area is degraded former grazing land with low-growing and largely non-continuous vegetation, and a lot of ecological potential to become a forest once again. Heiðmörk is a beautifully forested recreation area just beyond the Norðlingaholt suburb of Reykjavík, situated. The Þrastalundur Restaurant (Thrastalundur) is very popular offering an extensive menu and lovely views over Sogið, a forested nature reserve on the beautiful river. This is an important nesting site for many birds including wrens, rock ptarmigans, wagtails and woodcocks. You stay on the Ring Road until you spot the road into Fnjóskadalur on your right, it is signposted to Skógar and, also, to Vaglaskógur. However, after the end of the ice age birch tree grew strongly. Then it's best to seek knowledge of the experts. Taking a tour is recommended if you are not used to extremely rough terrain driving. 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