Icelandic Forestry Service Asks Public For Help Skip to content
icelandic forests birch reforestation
Photo: Guðrún Jónsdóttir. Birch seeds from Hafnarskógur forest.

Icelandic Forestry Service Asks Public For Help

The national collection of birch seeds began last week in Garðsárreittur in Eyjafjörður. The national initiative aims to reforest 5% of Iceland in birch forests, and volunteers from throughout Iceland are invited to gather birch seeds for the project.

Over the weekend, some 50 volunteers were able to gather some one and a half million seeds. An impressive number, but around 450 birch seeds fit into one teaspoon alone.

Currently, only around 1.5% of Iceland is forested with birch. In an interview with RÚV, Kristinn H. Þorsteinsson, project director of the initiative stated: “In order to be able to cover the country and get up to 5%, we need many hands, we need the whole nation. We need individuals, companies, schools and families to help out.”

The project began in 2020 in response to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Now, the goal is to reforest 5% of Iceland, equating to around 5,000 square kilometres,  with birch.

In the above video from the Icelandic Forest Service, the collection of birch seeds is demonstrated for those wanting to help out.

Birch trees begin developing their seeds in early September, and they can be collected up through November, according to Hreinn Óskarsson, forestry expert at the Icelandic Forestry Service.

The initiative is also enlisting the help of several companies in Iceland, including Bónus and Olís, where volunteers can donate any seeds collected. Both Bónus and Olís will be accepting seed donation at all of their locations.

Seeds should dried before being donated. More information is available at the initiative’s website.

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