Soil conservation and land degradation has been a major environmental issue in Iceland for centuries. Ecosystems have degraded due to land use, wood cutting and livestock grazing, along with susceptible soils, natural events like volcanic eruptions and harsh weather. A recent survey shows that 45% of the land ecosystems are in bad condition. This is in line with 25-30-year soil erosion survey which shows that 39% of the country is subject to considerable or extensive soil erosion.
During the last century, considerable efforts have been put into halting soil erosion and reversing the ecosystem degradation. The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI), a state agency founded in 1907, collaborates with farmers, farmer groups, NGO´s and local governments on revegetation and ecosystem restoration projects. This includes seeding grass species to halt soil erosion, adding fertilizers to increase vegetation cover and recently the SCSI added wetland restoration to the project portfolio. Additionally, parallel to decline in sheep production, increased emphasis is now on establishing and restoring natural woodlands on landscape scale, also in collaboration with broad group of stakeholder and the Iceland Forest Service (IFS). Annual area of new revegetation and restoration projects is around 8.000 ha.
Revegetation and Landcare
Through various projects over the last century, the general public has participated in land restoration in Iceland. Many of those projects are coordinated by the Soil Conservation Service in Iceland. More
Land restoration is a key to multiple goals of sustainable development. For example it contributes to preserving biological diversity and to the fight against climate change. More
Iceland has been a party of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) since 1997 and hosts the United Nation Land Restoration Training Programme. More