Is Iceland to Cold to Grow Forests?

Among the first things that visitors to Iceland usually notice are that it is not as warm as where they came from and there is a lack of forests in the landscape. Logically, they connect these two facts and come to the conclusion that Iceland is too cold for forests. This impression is often reinforced when they see the “forests” of low-growing and crooked native birch. However, over a century of forestry has proven that this is not the case, that it is past land-use and not climate that explains the treeless landscape. In fact, forests grow as well in Iceland as they do in parts of the world where forestry is a major industry.

This article is based on information from, with the kind permission from The Icelandic Forest Service.