Iceland’s government intends to increase funding to reforestation efforts around the country.
RÚV reports that while recent years have seen government cuts to Iceland’s national reforestation efforts, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson wants to reverse that trend.
The minister points out that even as demand for timber is growing, successive cuts over the years have made many tree planters worried about the impact the demand will have on Iceland’s forests.
“The government has a plan to increase reforestation and revegetation for, amongst other reasons, the trapping of carbon dioxide,” Sigurður told reporters. “I expect that in the next budget, even by next year or anyway in the medium term, we will see signs that we are increasing reforestation.”
Forests comprise only about 0.3% of Iceland’s total land area. Historically, birch forest and woodland covered some 25% to 40% of Iceland at the time of the first human settlements some 1140 years ago. Clearing trees for pastureland, building materials and fuel contributed to Iceland’s signature landscape today.