Influenced principally by outcomes of the Ministerial Conferences for the Protection of Forests in Europe (Forest Europe) and a recent forestry strategy for Scotland, a strategy was developed for Icelandic forestry looking forward to the end of the 21st century. It was published in 2013.

The strategy is divided into five main areas of emphasis:

  • Building up a forest resource
  • Forest utilisation, value and innovation
  • Society, access and health
  • Environmental quality and biodiversity
  • Climate change

Under each of these headings are goals and means to achieve them. Included among these goals are:

  • That at least 12% of Iceland be afforested by the year 2100 through both planting and natural forest extension
  • To develop sustainable forest utilisation and forest industry
  • To improve public access to forests and increase the recognition and role of forests in public health
  • To increase the role of afforestation in soil and water conservation, enhancement of biodiversity and amelioration of the environment
  • To enhance the role of forests as carbon sinks and to adapt forestry to climate change.

The main tool for achieving these goals will be the National Forestry Programme. In order to be effective, it must be based in law, be developed and updated regularly and have a great deal of public and political support. The IFS started work on the first national forestry programme for Iceland in 2017 in the hope that parliament will pass the new forestry act soon. With legal status, the national forestry programme will be an official instrument detailing strategic goals and means to achieve them. Even without legal status, it will be a useful tool in building consensus on the way forward in Icelandic forestry.