13th May 2022
Iceland is making fantastic progress in afforestation, with better results than ever before. After a ten-year lull in tree planting following the financial crash of 2008, planting numbers are up to 6 million seedlings 2022 and look to go much higher in the coming years. This is due to decisions by the Icelandic government connected to tackling climate change and to greatly increased interest on the part of companies, organizations and individuals in supporting Icelandic forestry. Cooperation between state agencies for afforestation on public lands has reclamation of native woodlands as a main goal and has increased greatly in the last three years. Cooperation with municipalities is important in developing outdoor recreation forests. Iceland had practically no forests 70 years ago and therefore no forest culture or traditions. International cooperation has allowed them to import forest knowledge, first in the form of Icelanders going abroad for education in forestry. Then came Nordic cooperation, which gradually increased and is still the cornerstone of foreign cooperation for Icelandic forestry. Participation in European cooperation has also gradually increased, through Forest Europe, EUFORGEN and a number of EU-funded projects. Cooperation with other countries has been less, mostly with the US and Canada. They, then, needed to adapt the knowledge gained through their own research and development. In the absence of culture and tradition, science became the basis of forestry. Without that, Iceland would still be treeless.