Vaglaskógar in Fnjóskadalur, North Iceland was established very early in the twentieth century, although this, principally birch and spruce forest, has developed considerably since that time. For me, the smell of birch trees epitomizes Iceland, increasingly compelling, this scent certainly helped Iceland to capture my heart in its magic embrace. At Mogilsa where the Icelandic Forest Service's research division is located is a 50 year-old planted forest where imported trees grow together with Iceland's only domestic tree, the birch idyllic lake. 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. 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. Birch syrup is produced the same way as maple syrup—birch and maple are in fact the only tree species that grow in northern districts that can be used for syrup production, Morgunbladid reports. One of the most stunning and famous forests in Iceland is Þórsmörk (Thorsmork), the name literally means ‘Þór´s Wood’. Then it's best to seek knowledge of the experts. With so much lava many parts of Iceland do not have the depth of soil required to support the growth of trees. 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 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. Only a few feet away, cars and tour buses were roaring by, their occupants oblivious to perhaps Iceland’s most famous tree. However, after the end of the ice age birch tree grew strongly. Shiny, red … It did not take the Viking settlers who came to Iceland very long to make good use of the resources they discovered in their new homeland. There are marked trails leading around and from Ásbyrgi, and, in summer, there are daily walks through the forested canyon led by a ranger which start at the Ásbyrgi car park. For example, at Ásbyrgi, conifers were planted along with birch, willow and rowan trees but it became apparent the conifers were taking over. If you are self-driving Skógar, is a must-stop place – give yourself enough time to relax, to enjoy the waterfall and to photograph the verdant tree-rich landscapes. You can see a map of Heiðmörk, As well as being totally charming Heiðmörk is so accessible from Reykjavík, yet you feel you are way out of the city. The greatest ecological threat facing the island is soil erosion. 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. In this way, no tree will be removed, but over time the rowan and birch trees, indigenous to Iceland, will become more dominant over time. The atmosphere and experience of being in the forest at Ásbyrgi is quite unique, as you explore the depths of the forest at the enclosed end of the canyon the feeling of peace is profound. You can see a map of Heiðmörk here. Whenever I think back to that moment, the distinctive fresh scent which wafted through that open coach window comes strongly to mind. There are a few entry points into the forest and designated car parking areas, with trails and walking paths leading from them. You can read more about Þórsmörk – the Valley of Thor here. Original Painting: Acrylic on Canvas. Ásbyrgi is within Vatnajökull National Park, more information about Iceland’s National Parks. Reforestation projects and woodland planting schemes have continued ever since. Ásbyrgi, protected by the cliffs of the 3.5 km long canyon, is home to one of the most delightful forests in Iceland. . Size is 11.8 H x 11.8 W x 0.6 in. When the Viking settlers came to Iceland birch trees were most prevalent, with some rowan trees, and probably a tiny number of tea-leaved willow trees and aspen trees. Some of the afforestation includes non-native tree types, like the odd and orderly planted spruce, and pine trees that are visible along Iceland’s ring road. In Thorsmork Iceland mountains and lake are being light by the sun shining through clouds; Young woman hiker with backpack at Fimmvorduhals hiking trail. When the Viking settlers came to Iceland birch trees were most prevalent, with some rowan trees, and probably a tiny number of tea-leaved willow trees and aspen trees. 1.3 m (Philip 1983). About 2% of the forest features trees 8-12 meters tall, mostly in valleys in the north, east and south. Volcanic ash, dust and clays has even been utilized as an active ingredient in fertilizers. The.  These protected areas include: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Oceanic climate (subpolar variety) (Koppen Cfc), "Iceland boreal birch forests and alpine tundra", "Biodiversity in Iceland. Only one species of mammal is indigenous to Iceland, the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). My first day tour from Reykjavík was the South Shore Adventure which showed me the forests at Skógar and Skógafoss waterfall, as well as all of the delights along the South Coast. Here, we have put together t... We've sent you an email to confirm your subscription. If you can't find it please check your spam folder. Trees and shrubbery carpet the foothills around the cliffs of the old coastline. The largest forest in Iceland, Hallormstaðaskógar, near Egilsstaðir in East Iceland, was established in 1908 at the edge of Lagarfljót, an idyllic lake. The largest families are the sedges (Cyperaceae), with 53 species, and grasses (Poaceae), with 47 species. The forest contains around 85 tree species from around the world within its 700 hectares, although principally it is an Icelandic birch forest. National Report to the Convention on Biodiversity", "World Map of Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification Updated", "Dataset - Koppen climate classifications", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Iceland_boreal_birch_forests_and_alpine_tundra&oldid=990133160, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 November 2020, at 00:23. Common tree species include native dwarf birch and mountain birch, as well as over 80 different species of tree brought from 177 locations overseas. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir. Hallormsstadaskógur is located at Fljótsdalur, a valley which is also home to the beautiful lake, Lagarfljót, at the edge of Egilsstaðir in East Iceland. It is known that a few million years ago a wider variety of tree species grew in Iceland than in settlement times. It is known that a few million years ago a wider variety of tree species grew in Iceland than in settlement times. Giant ice dams, high on, Many visitors say Ásbyrgi was a top highlight of their time in Iceland, you can read, more about Ásbyrgi and favorite places in Iceland here, Eurovision Movie: 5 Iceland References You Might Have Missed, Iceland Ranks First on Children’s Rights Index, Icelandic Forests in Viking Settlement Times, things to do around Akureyri during summer. The coach headed towards Hafnarfjörður, a pretty harborside town in the midst of the lava, along the route to Reykjavík. Three quarters of the island is above 200 metres (660 ft) in elevation, with steep fjords and cliffs along much of its coast. 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