Wetland Reclaimed on Presidential Estate in Iceland

wetlands Iceland

Earlier this week, ditches were filled on the estates of Bessastaðir – the official residence of the President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhanesson – and Bleiksmýri, RÚV reports. The effort forms a part of the Icelandic Wetland Fund’s endeavour to fill ditches on a total of 25 estates before next summer. According to the Fund’s estimates, the restoration of these wetlands will be the equivalent of removing 1,000 vehicles from the road, as far as carbon emissions go.

Labourers employed by the Fund finished filling the ditches in Bessastaðir and Bleiksmýri on Wednesday. Yesterday, the effort was resumed on Krísuvíkurmýri (a total of 60 hectares) in Hafnarfjörður. The reclamation will continue on estates such as Kirkjuból in West Iceland and Hof in East Iceland.

The Icelandic Wetland Fund was established in 2018 by Auðlind (the Guðmundur Páll Ólafsson Memorial Fund), the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI), and other companies. President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson is the project’s guardian.

Read more: Iceland’s Wetland Restoration

According to a public statement made last year by the Icelandic Wetland Fund, filling in ditches is a quick and cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions:

“It has been estimated that the length of the drained [ditches] in Iceland is about 34,000 kilometres. The […] focus is on co-operation with farmers, landowners, municipalities, and the Icelandic state to restore areas not used for cultivation or forestry. The restoration of wetlands is a relatively fast and cheap way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland.”

Helping the World Breathe

wetlands Iceland

For a long time, wetlands were an underestimated part of the Icelandic ecosystem. But times are changing. People are starting to realise that wetlands are an indispensable water resource and serve a significant ecological purpose. Wetlands are home to a variety of species, ranging from plants to small animals, which depend on the conditions provided by wetlands for survival. Amongst those are birds – over 90% of birds that breed in Iceland rely, to some extent, on wetlands.

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