While Iceland used to have up to 40% forest cover centuries ago, deforestation has reduced this to just 5% today. Since so much time has gone by this unique project is categorized as afforestation as opposed to reforestation.
Afforestation Vs Reforestation
They are quite often confused with each other, however they are quite different!
Afforestation is the planting of a forest or trees in an area where there was no previous tree cover.
Reforestation is the re-planting and growing of forests that have previously been cut down “deforestation” using tree species that are native to the local area
This Iceland project is a 170 hectare area and will involve planting trees on the lower, south-facing slopes on the farm “Dragon's Nest" named after its' former owner. 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. The main goals of this project are carbon sequestration and soil conservation.
In time, degraded and eroded land (the majority of the area) will develop more vigorous vegetation, both the trees themselves and the undergrowth. A mixed species forest will provide enriched biodiversity for most species' groups, including considerable birch at the edges, pine in the poorest areas, spruce on the better sites and black cottonwood along streams. There will be open areas for shade-intolerant plants and open-ground birds to remain in the area. The forest will moderate stream fluctuations creating better conditions for freshwater organisms including many insects, small crustaceans and fish. The forest will make its contribution to carbon sequestration, which will be a reversal of the current emissions.
The afforestation area is open to people from the local village, Breiðdalsvík. With time, footpaths and other outdoor recreation facilities will be developed. Local people will get jobs in fence maintenance and planting the trees.