Arriving at the indoor seed orchard in Vaglir North Iceland. From left: Valgerdur Jonsdottir, Throst…
Arriving at the indoor seed orchard in Vaglir North Iceland. From left: Valgerdur Jonsdottir, Throstur Eysteinsson, Willemijn Stoffels, Robert van Schooten, Kathleen Ceulemans, Rakel Jinsdottir og Adalsteinn Sigurgeirsson. Photo: Pétur Halldórsson

Top-representatives from Land Life Company have been traveling around Iceland in recent days, accompanied by the director and deputy director of the Icelandic Forest Service (IFS). Land Life has now entered into agreements with IFS for the restoration of forest land on three locations in Iceland and is interested in collaboration for further projects in the country.

As we reported in a news item here on last spring, Land Life Company is based on the ideology that technology and a market approach can drive innovation in the rehabilitation of degraded former woodland, especially through forest restoration. On their website it is pointed out that there are two billion hectares of lost woodland in the world, and Land Life wants to help with the rehabilitation of those lost forests by restoring them. The company with headquarters in the Netherlands supports forestry projects in 25 countries on three continents.

Land Life is already collaborating with the IFS on three reforestation projects in Iceland, in Skorradalur, Haukadalur and Thjorsardalur, where planting began last spring. The company is interested in further projects in Iceland. The people from Land Life Company currently touring Iceland are Willemijn Stoffels COO, Kathleen Ceulemans Business Development Manager, and Robert van Schooten, Project Manager of Operations. Accompanying them on behalf of the IFS are Director Throstur Eysteinsson, and Deputy Director Adalsteinn Sigurgeirsson. The purpose of the trip is to get to know forestry in Iceland, explore reforestation areas and possible new areas for restoration projects. Also to explore the professional side of forestry in Iceland and the research and development work that takes place there in the field of forestry.

As mentioned earlier, Land Life's activities are based on the use of technology and the free market as a driving force in the restoration of forests around the Globe. Or as put on their website:

Land Life Company was founded on the shared conviction that a business approach and technology can drive innovation to restore nature in our lifetime. Today we are a diverse team of 50 motivated professionals, with teams on 3 continents and reforestation projects in over 25 countries.

Robert van Schooten told that Land Life Company's ideal is to make the world a better place and to promote the regrowth of forests where forests have been lost. Land Life always plants a diverse mix of native species. However, to create healthy and forest ecosystems in Iceland Land Life also plants a combination of native and imported species together with the IFS. According to Robert, they are first and foremost looking for land that is in steady and permanent ownership to ensure that the regrown forests are here to stay. Land owned by the state or municipalities, for example, is perfectly suited for such projects, not least if the restored forests are supposed to serve as outdoor recreation areas and strengthen people's communities as well as improving resilience of nature and the like. In order to raise capital for its projects, Land Life seeks for partnerships with companies that have an ambitious sustainability agenda and convert their carbon footprint into new forests.

The representatives of Land Life stopped by Vaglaskogur Forest in North Iceland on Tuesday 24 August 2021, visiting among other things the indoor seed orchard where Valgerdur Jonsdottir project manager for propagation material, explained the production of hybrid larch seed with cross-pollination of European and Russian larch. Researcher Rakel Jonsdottir told about her experiments on propagating larch from cuttings and forest manager Runar Isleifsson showed the guests a fire shelter that is under construction in Vaglaskogur Forest - made entirely of Icelandic timber - before taking them to a young reforestation area in Halsmelar where only 30 years ago, there were bare gravel land. Now it has turned to a lush and productive forest, a good example of forest ecosystem restoration in line with the goals of Land Life Company.

Text and photos: Pétur Halldórsson