Why Are There No Trees in Iceland?

As of April 2015, there are trees in Iceland due to a reforestation program; the past centuries saw few trees in Iceland due to volcanic eruptions and removal of forests to create land for sheep to graze. The Iceland Forest Service was established in 1908 to help reforest the country by planting new trees. The country has one forest, Hallormsstadarskogur, located in East Iceland.

It is estimated that more than 1,000 years ago, trees covered approximately 40 percent of the land in Iceland. In time, the birch trees that covered the area were removed to create farms and for use in building materials and for heating. By the 1950s, only 1 percent of the land in Iceland had trees. At this time, the National Forest Service increased its reforestation to help bring up the number of trees in the country. By the 1990s, the department was planting 4 million trees each year. As of 2015, the number of trees planted each years has decreased, but Iceland has a commercial forest resource that is expected to increase interest in forestry investment.

Iceland is an island country located in northern Europe near the Arctic Circle. Its capital is Reykjavik. Iceland’s population is 315,281, based on 2013 estimates.