Thingvallavatn Lake in Þingvellir National Park, Iceland.

Thingvallavatn Lake in Þingvellir National Park, Iceland. Credit: Jerzystrzelecki /Wikimedia

Project Location:
Reyðarfjörður and Þingvellir National Park, Iceland

Key Activities:

  • Planting 12,700 trees across 62 acres
  • Reforesting areas affected by development and agriculture practices
  • Enhancing recreation areas

Project Description:
Alongside Reyðarfjörður Forestry Association (RFA) and the Icelandic Forestry Association (IFA), Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are reforesting two areas of Iceland to improve forest conditions: two old farms near Reyðarfjörður and Vinaskógur (Friendship Forest) in Þingvellir National Park.

Why This Project:
Agriculture practices and other activities have left much of Iceland denuded of native birch forests. This project is reforesting areas of Iceland with birch and other native species to reduce erosion and water runoff, while improving soil and climate conditions. The forests are also providing habitat for birds and other species, as well as offsetting air pollution.

Forest recreation is also very popular in Iceland, as the trees offer shelter from the country’s wind and cool weather.  As a result, these plantings are facilitating increased recreation.

Why Iceland:
Iceland is one of the most deforested countries in Europe, with only one percent of its land covered with forests — down from 25 percent at the time of the country’s original settlement. Over the last 50 years, the country has been attempting to reforest its landscapes through forest management and planting efforts.