A Couple of Reader Questions

Rob asks:
Jane, it looks like you’ve had great weather. What do folks there say about that? Are blue skies common in late July / early August? When I was in Reykjavik in October there was a lot of cold, horizontal rain…..

Apparently, the weather in REK is frequently more rainy than in other parts of the country. But, by all accounts, this has been a fantastically sunny summer in Iceland. Which, of course, is a double-edged sword. The tourism industry is thrilled. But with such a short growing season, the farmers are not. Meanwhile, in the UK, the closest inhabited neighbor to Iceland, it’s been a horribly rainy and flooded season.

Greg asks:
A NOVA documentary on the Vikings says that Iceland was forested before they showed up and implies that they viewed it as an unlimited woodlot to a fault. Are you reading any confirmation of that and have you seen some evidence of re-forestation? Most of your pix while specacular and interesting show a barren landscape.

Greg, that’s what I’ve been hearing too, that all the trees were gone a couple of centuries ago. Not sure whether the Vikings finished them off or if later settlers helped too, but there are very few tall trees that I’ve seen around the country.

I did see a forest of evergreens, obviously planted as a farm, when I was on a tour of the Golden Circle. I had heard that Icelanders like Christmas trees so I inquired if that was what they were for. The guide said no, that most of their Christmas trees come from Norway, and that this stand of trees was not a native species, but she didn’t know what they were for.

But you’re right, most of the landscape is very barren, with the exemption of the area I drove through around Akureyri, where there is quite a bit of farmland. And where there are trees, they’re scarcely taller than bushes.

Thank you both for the questions!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Couple of Reader Questions

  1. Greg says:

    Thanks for answering Jane. The Vikings were there a wee bit more than a couple of centruries ago but the documentary (which I happen to have viewed quite recently) strongly implied that they were largely responsible for the denuding of Iceland for everything from boatbuilding material to charcoal. Maybe they left a few scraggly ones that others who came after them finished off? Given that fragile ecosystem it isn’t a stretch to understand why the trees never really came back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s