OCT 11, 2018 3:04 PM PDT

How Iceland is growing forests for the first time in a millennium

Iceland is perhaps one of the worst cases of deforestation that the world has seen. Over the last 1,000 years, the country's forests have been felled for the purposes of timber or pastures for livestock. This has resulted in extreme erosion because without trees' roots to hold the soil in place, land just slips away. But now the Icelandic Forest Service is attempting to reverse that story, by regrowing the forests with genetically-modified species specifically fit for the changing climate. 

The genetics of a tree determines how much heat it needs in the summer to grow, how resilient it is to drought, and when it stops growing during autumn, among many other traits. EUFORGEN is an international cooperative program that promotes science-based recommendations on the choice of seeds, cuttings, and seedlings to help promote the most resilient forests possible. Along with the Icelandic Forest Service, this cooperative has made a huge impact on the sustainability of the country's forest management practices. Nowadays, Iceland is producing biomass that can be used for timber, without threatening vast deforestation. To learn more about the country's techniques, watch the video!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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