top of page

Why do we need to reforest Iceland?

After the Norse Settlement between 870-930, Iceland was heavily deforested due to the harsh and cold North-Atlantic climate and the extreme and unsustainable land-use practices of the settlers. In the 1950s, less than 0.5% of the country remained covered by trees, although it is estimated that Iceland had initially a 25-40% forest cover at the time of the Settlement. This led to massive biodiversity loss, soil erosion and desertification processes, which created the very mineral and volcanic landscape for which Iceland is known today. 

By 1950, a small group of Icelanders had already started to protect the remaining woodlands, but reforestation and afforestation efforts really took off in the second part of the century, particularly in the 1990s, to reclaim the lost forest ecosystems and recreate biodiversity shelters for the flora and fauna of the country. Many domestic volunteering forestry associations blossomed during that period, which the Icelandic Forestry Association represents as their umbrella organization, to create recreational and protective forests for local communities and towns throughout the country.

Thanks to the joint efforts of the forest farmers, the forestry associations and the cohort of foresters working in the forestry sector, Iceland has managed to reach a 2% forest cover and the first tree reaching over 30 meters in height was measured in the town Kirkjubæjarklaustur in the South-East in 2022. But there is still a lot of trees to plant to reclaim our lost forests and woodlands, and to be able to meet the goal set by the Icelandic government to reach carbon neutrality by 2040.

Þórunnartún 6

105 Reykjavík



The Lake House of Úlfljótsvatn


Grafningsvegur Efri

805 Selfoss




  • Facebook
  • Instagram
bottom of page