State of Ecological Restoration in Iceland – #SEREwebinars2022 October 18 @ 18:00 - 19:15
This is the first Autumn, and the 6th of the webinar series by SER Europe in 2022 - A SER Europe member will lecture us on the State of Ecological Restoration on her/his Country, followed by a Q&A and a conclusion on best practices and further research+innovation networking.
Ecosystem restoration in Iceland builds on more than a century of experience from revegetation, reclamation, and restoration activities. Organised measures began at the beginning of last century as a response to severe erosion and massive sand movement that was a constant threat to the livelihood of many communities. The first law related to soil erosion and restoration in Iceland is from 1907. With modernisation in agriculture in the 1950s intensive drainage of wetland began, affecting more than half of Icelandic wetlands. New legislation with the purpose of protecting, restoring, and improving vegetation and soil resources, and ensure their sustainable use was approved by the parliament in 2018 (Act 155/2018). In August 2022, a combined policy and action plan for soil conservation (including restoration) and forestry were released by the minister of food, agriculture and fisheries as required in corresponding laws from 2018 and 2019. Their focus is on restoring native ecosystems, including wetland and birch woodland together with degraded moss heathland with the aim of protecting and restoring biodiversity as well as ecosystem services, including carbon storage. They are therefore closely related to earlier submitted Action Plan for Iceland´s climate change mitigation measures.
The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI) is the leading agency for restoration of terrestrial ecosystems in Iceland. Majority of restoration projects are managed by SCSI or carried out in collaboration with it. Over the years, most restoration work has been funded by the government but in more recent time local authorities, the private sector and NGOs have increasingly contributed. Drivers of restoration have changed with time but currently is increasing emphasis on restoring degraded ecosystems to mitigate impact of climate change with the focus on synergies among present environmental challenges reflected in the United Nations conventions (CBD, UNFCCC, UNCDD).
Kristín Svavarsdóttir and Sunna Áskelsdóttir (Soil Conservation Service of Iceland)