Iceland: Dragon's Nest Forest

This afforestation project is being carried out on the Ormsstaðir (roughly translated - Dragon´s Nest) farm near the village of Breiðdalsvík in southeast Iceland. The tree species that will be planted on 170 ha of land on the lower, south-facing slopes of the farm are downy birch, lodgepole pine, Sitka spruce, and black cottonwood.

The area, degraded former grazing land with low-growing and largely non-continuous vegetation, has been in disuse since 2005, except for the neighbour's sheep grazing on the site. A fence has been installed to prevent grazing in the future. The main goals of afforestation are carbon sequestration, soil conservation, and possibly future timber production.

A mixed-species forest will provide enriched biodiversity and habitat for most species groups, especially fungi, other soil organisms, arthropods, birds, and mammals. Portions of the land will remain unplanted to allow shade-intolerant plants and open-ground birds to remain in the area, and the surrounding landscape will remain treeless. The forest will moderate stream fluctuations creating better conditions for freshwater organisms including many insects, small crustaceans, and fish.

The afforestation area is open to people from the local village, Breiðdalsvík. Over time, footpaths and other outdoor recreation facilities will be developed, and employment opportunities in tree planting and fence maintenance will be made available to local people.