CAN’T SEE THE WOODS FOR THE FREEZE

Forests are rare in Iceland, since there are only four native tree species. At the time of settlement, up to 40 per cent of the island was forested, but now that number is little more than 1.5 per cent. The dominant species is downy birch, mostly a couple of meters tall, but up to 15 meters in places. The tea-leaved willow is fairly common, the rowan grows here and there, but the aspen is found in only six places in Iceland. Woods like this, at Elliðaárdalur in east Reykjavík, are forested with non-native spruce, pine and larch, which do well in the tundra environment. As you can see, because even in late March, it's still snowing.


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