View to Spákonufell mountain. About 25 hectares of the afforestation area have already been planted.…
View to Spákonufell mountain. About 25 hectares of the afforestation area have already been planted. In collaboration with One Tree Planted, at least 80 hectares of new forest will be added. Photo: Benjamín Örn Davíðsson

An agreement has been signed between One Tree Planted and the Icelandic Forest Service for the planting of 180,000 seedlings on the slopes of the mountain Spákonufell close to the village of Skagaströnd in North-Iceland. The project will be completed in the autumn of 2024. As a result, a diverse recreational forest will grow, benefitting the local community with shelter from cold winds and improving biodiversity and natural cycles.

The new project is to be called "Seer Hill" which is a direct English translation of the Icelandic name of the mountain Spákonufell. "Spákona" means seeress in Icelandic and "fell" means a low mountain or a hill. In the interest of gender neutrality, we call it Seer Hill in English.

At first, emphasis will be placed on native birch, Sitka spruce and black cottonwood, as these species are thought to be best suited for afforestation in the area. In time, when the forest starts to give shelter from the cold and harsh winter storms, there will be improved opportunity to add other tree species to the forest for increased diversity.

Emphasis will be placed on native downy birch, Sitka spruce and black cottonwood to begin with, but when the forest begins to form shelter, there will be an opportunity to plant other species to increase diversity. Map: Benjamín Örn Davíðsson

The agreement between One Tree Planted and the Icelandic Forest Service was signed on April 30. It involves planting for the next three years on about 140 hectares of land on the lower slopes of the mountain Spákonufell. The land is owned by the Municipality of Skagaströnd. Planting has already been carried out on about 25 hectares of the area in question and interspersed wetland spots will be left unplanted for increased biodiversity.

The contribution of One Tree Planted to the project amounts to 18.000 trees planted. The agreement is without obligations other than the forest is supposed to be established and maintained for the future.

One Tree Planted has already entered into an agreement with Skógræktin for a similar project at Ormsstaðir in Breiðdalur, East-Iceland, the so-called Dragon's Nest project. One Tree Planted is a non-profit organization with a focus on global reforestation. As an environmental charity, they are dedicated to making it easier for individuals and businesses to give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity and help reforestation efforts around the world. All by planting trees!

Started in 2014, One Tree Planted has more than doubled the number of trees planted year after year. The organisation now works with reforestations partners in North America, South America, Asia, and Africa and now Iceland! The collaborators help One Tree Planted get trees in the ground to restore forests after fires and floods, create jobs, build communities, and protect habitat for biodiversity. In 2020 alone, One Tree Planted got 10 million trees planted through partnerships like ours, and they’re on track to double that this year!

With donors showing great interest in the first One Tree Planted project here in Iceland, the organisation has shown interest in supporting more projects in Iceland, preferably projects that benefit both the environment and the local communities. The new project "Seer Hill" in Spákonufell mountain is the second project, hopefully with more to come.

Text: Pétur Halldórsson