Woods and forestry

Woods in Iceland cover approximately 1.5% of the land. The most common species of Icelandic forestry plants are the following (not an exhaustive list):

  • Birch (Betula pubescens)
  • Populations of salix (Salix spp.)
  • Mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Aspen (Populus tremula)
  • Larch (Larix sukaczewii, L. decidua x sukaczewii)
  • Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)
  • Black cottonwood  (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa)
  • Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)

In addition to the ones above, there are species mainly grown for gardens that have developed in Iceland over a long time and are therefore well adapted to the environment. Examples of such species are Salix, Juniper, and others.

Value

Populations, clones, and offspring of the species currently used in forestry are being tested extensively in various locations in the country. National forests contain experiments and store trees that are classified as areas under protection.

It is important that indigenous tree species and populations are used in forestry all over the country. The Icelandic birch contains substantial genetic diversity and varies between different locations in the country.

The Iceland Forest Service is responsible for genetic resources in woods and the organization has through the years collected a great deal of information and experience on forestry in Iceland.

It is important that valuable horticultural plants are collected and stored in e.g. botanical gardens. Special trees may also have special historical roles and are important as such.

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