The Icelandic Forest Service intends to plant nearly four million trees this year as part of a long-term climate action plan, RÚV reports. The new plantings will supplement the three million that the Forest Service planted last year, and will include birch, larch, black cottonwood, lodgepole pine, and sitka spruce trees, among other species.
“There are exciting times ahead,” remarked National Forest Division Chief Þröstur Eysteinsson. “This summer, we decided that reforestation would play a big part in Icelanders’ climate action plan and that we should plant a lot more trees in the coming years than we have so far. This won’t start all that quickly, but we expect to get close to four million trees in total and then go up from there.” Tens of millions of krónur are currently being invested in reforestation projects, and Þröstur hopes that by 2020, investment will increase to hundreds of millions.
Iceland’s five-year fiscal plan anticipates spending ISK 6.8 billion [$56.4 million; €49.2 million] on climate-related expenses. The majority of this funding, or ISK 4 billion [$33.2 million; €28.9 million], will be allocated to CO2 capture efforts lead by the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service. The Forest Service will receive an increase of ISK 450 million [$3.7 million; €3.3 million] by 2020, going up to ISK 1.7 billion [$14.1 million; €12.3 million] by 2023.
This year, the Forest Service will be planting a large percentage of its new trees on land in its ownership, particularly in Skorradalur in West Iceland. There will also be significant plantings in in South Iceland at a new grove near Þorlákshöfn—aided by this year’s seedling fundraiser to benefit ICE-SAR—as well as one on Mt. Hekla.