Donate to protect Iceland´s nature
Iceland’s unique nature is one of the country’s main tourist attractions. Yet there are major environmental concerns facing several of these iconic landscapes and their flora and fauna. Iceland’s leading non-for profit environmental organisation, Landvernd – The Icelandic Environment Association, runs projects that focus on both the protection of Iceland’s natural landscape and environmental education.To assist with nature conservation efforts, HI-Iceland, which is a non-for profit, non-governmental organisation with strong environmental focus since its foundation- is offering its guests the chance to support two long term conservations projects run by Landvernd and the development of a joint project between HI Iceland and Landvernd.
Each project concerns a major environmental challenge in the country.
This partnership stands up for Landvernd’s and HI-Iceland‘s missions to provide environmental education, raise awareness and support sustainable tourism and responsible travelling in Iceland.
Please consider donating to help protect and preserve this inspiring part of the world.
1. Restoring Degraded Land with School Children
A few places on our planet have experienced as extensive deforestation and desertification as Iceland with over 95% of initial woodland cover gone since human settlement. The overall goals of this project are the restoration of degraded land and increased youth and community awareness and participation in solving environmental problems.
The project involves actions taken by secondary school children to counteract land degradation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and climate change. Under the guidance of teachers, staff from Landvernd and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, students will set up experimental areas in ecological restoration of eroded land in the South.Students will measure vegetation, research animal communities and various environmental factors before carrying out the actual restoration actions in order to assess the performance afterwards. Thus they will monitor changes in the areas' vegetation and animal communities and biodiversity and figure out how much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is sequestered by their actions. Students will sow or put fertilizer in the experimental fields and assess the results later.
These experiments will then be applied to a larger scale, restoring a large area in the vicinity of the volcano Hekla in South Iceland. Through the project, students become active participants in ecological restoration and as their actions are put forth as an experiment; students will also learn scientific methodology. Students will then process the data they collect and present their findings to their school and local community. Education, training and youth involvement in addressing the challenges of environmental issues at a local level are among the key factors in contributing to changing attitudes and conduct towards nature within communities. In the coming years, Landvernd aims at developing this project into a model for environmental education in ecological restoration in Icelandic schools.
Project Outcome/Success Factor: Published support material for teachers, increased knowledge of teachers and pupils on major environmental challenges, restoration of degraded land. Methods used to measure success include ecological measurements, surveys and questionnaires.
2. Sustainable Tourism in Geothermal Areas
The magnificent and distinctive geothermal areas (Geysir, Landmannalaugar, Hveravellir, Reykjadalur, etc) are one of the main characteristics of Icelandic nature and are almost unparalleled in the world. Their diversity is high, both in relation to geology and mineralogy as well as biology, but in many of these areas endemic species of thermophilic (heat-loving) microbes can be found, having adapted to very extreme habitats.
There is considerable interest in developing nature tourism in Iceland towards sustainability and the main aims of this project are to promote the protection of the sensitive nature in geothermal areas and reinforce sustainable tourism in such areas. The project is intended to achieve these goals by increasing information material for tourists. The material includes booklets, on site information signs, and short video clips. The information presented focuses on the unique topography, geology and biology of Icelandic geothermal areas, their nature conservation value and the importance of responsible behaviour, as well as to enhance the security of tourists with better information regarding access and conduct. Geothermal areas are particularly vulnerable to intrusion and traffic and Landvernd feels it is extremely important to ensure the protection of these unique resources so that natives, foreign visitors and future generations can enjoy them too.
Project Outcome/Success Factor: booklets, on site information signs, and short video clips.
3. Development of a CO2 reduction project
Throughout 2014, Landvernd and HI-Iceland aim to develop a joined project of CO2 reduction through restoration efforts. The aim of the project will be to restore degraded land under difficult circumstances, involving volunteers as well as increasing the opportunities for the hostels around Iceland that have an interest in participating in restoration efforts, in particular planting native trees.