Icelandic Flora

skeidararsandurIceland is a young country that is still being formed. Prominent in Icelandic landscape is high mountains and very few, almost no natural forests.  The flora is very unique.

The climate has been up and down and consistently changing. The warming in Iceland since 1975 has been about 0.35°C per 10 years, which is more than the average rate of global warming. The signs of global warming are obvious in the flora in Iceland. The flora is constantly growing and conditions for forests to grow and build up have got better than before.

There are not many forests in Iceland, and sadly 97% of the original forests have been erased by the settlers. The main reason for that is when the people started to come and live in Iceland, they cut all the trees to build houses, ships and they also used trees as firewood, but they didn’t plant any to replace the forests that had been cut. The settlers mostly came from Norway.  They also needed grazing land for their sheep and horses.

Today the largest forest is oskeid2 2014 tn the east of Iceland (Hallormsstaðaskógur), and the second largest is in the north (Vaglaskógur).

Skeiðarásandur is the largest sand plain in Iceland, and it is kind of a desert, which covers 1% of Iceland. This sand is close to Höfn and every year students from FAS go to do research on the flora that’s developing. On the sand there are the same 5 spots that are viewed. The spots are 25m2 each and the students count the plants and categorise them after measuring their height and other parameters. When the students are finished doing their research, they will make a report so we can see how the flora is developing.

The two pictures on this page show the sand plain "Skeiðarársandur" some years ago and then in Autumn 2014.

Written by Guðrún and Heiðdís

Presentation about Icelandic Flora