0.5% —or about 46,000 hectares—of Iceland is forested. Of this, none is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Iceland gained an average of 1,300 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual reforestation rate of 5.20%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change decreased by 19.0% to 4.21% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Iceland gained 84.0% of its forest cover, or around 21,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Iceland gained 0.0% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Iceland has some 305 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 0.3% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 2.3% are threatened. Iceland is home to at least 377 species of vascular plants, of which 0.3% are endemic. 4.7% of Iceland is protected under IUCN categories I-V.


Iceland: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)10,025,000
Total Forest Area (ha)46,000
Percent Forest Cover0.46%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)-
Primary Forest, % total forest0.00%
Primary Forest, % total land0.00%
Other wooded land (ha)104,000

Iceland : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)0%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)100%

Iceland: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)-0.0%
Modified natural (ha | %)17,00037.0%
Semi-natural (ha | %)-0.0%
Production plantation (ha | %)17,00037.0%
Production plantation (ha | %)12,00026.1%

Iceland: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)25,000
Forest 2000 (ha)38,000
Forest 2005 (ha)46,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)1,3005.20%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)1,6004.21%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)21,00084.00%
Change in rate (%)-19.03%
Primary 1990 (ha)-
Primary 2000 (ha)-
Primary 2005 (ha)-
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-#DIV/0!
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-#DIV/0!
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-#DIV/0!
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)104,000
Other 2000 (ha)104,000
Other 2005 (ha)104,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)8,000
Other 2000 (ha)21,000
Other 2005 (ha)29,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)1,30016.25%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)1,6007.62%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)21,000262.50%
Change in rate (%)-53.11%
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)121,000
Other 2000 (ha)121,000
Other 2005 (ha)121,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!

Iceland: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)0
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)0
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)0
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)0.00%

Iceland: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)46.6%
Private (%)53.2%
Other (%)0.8%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)28.9%
Private (%)69.0%
Other (%)2.0%
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)19.8%
Protection (%)10.4%
Conservation (%)0.0%
Social Services (%)14.8%
Multiple Services (%)54.1%
None of Unknown (%)0.0%

Iceland: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)0.00%
Insects (ha)0.00%
Diseases (ha)0.00%
Other (ha)0.00%

Iceland: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20053
World Heritage sites, 20040
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land4.7%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land1.72%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20042.90%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 20040.00%

Iceland: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species0
endemic species
threatened species0
total species305
endemic species1
threatened species0
total species0
endemic species0
threatened species7
total species0
endemic species0
threatened species0
Wildlife diversity
total species305
endemic species1
threatened species7

Iceland: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species3
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered0
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic1
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened0

Iceland: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)3
Below-ground biomass (M t)n.s.
Dead wood (M t)n.s.
Total (M t)3
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)1
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)n.s.
Carbon in dead wood (M t)n.s.
Carbon in litter (M t)n.s.
Soil carbon (M t)4
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)n.s.
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)n.s.
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)n.s.
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)n.s.
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)0
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)92
Exudates (t)0
Other plant products (t)0
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)0
Hides, skins and trophies (units)0
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)0
Bush meat (t)0
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)0
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)0
Other edible animal products (t)0
Other non-edible animal products (t)0
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$101,000
Wood fuel (US$)$53,000
Non-wood forest products (US$)$300,000
Total value (US$)$454,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$10
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employedn.s.

Iceland : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Iceland: Environment
Environment - current issueswater pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Transboundary Air Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Natural hazardsearthquakes and volcanic activity

Iceland: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 0.07%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.93% (2001)
Natural resourcesfish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite

Iceland: Economy
Economy - overview:Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system (including generous housing subsidies), low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. In the absence of other natural resources (except for abundant geothermal power), the economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 70% of export earnings and employs 8% of the work force. The economy remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Government policies include reducing the budget and current account deficits, limiting foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and fishing policies, diversifying the economy, and privatizing state-owned industries. The government remains opposed to EU membership, primarily because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, and new developments in software production, biotechnology, and financial services are taking place. The tourism sector is also expanding, with the recent trends in ecotourism and whale watching. Growth had been remarkably steady in 1996-2001 at 3%-5%, but could not be sustained in 2002 in an environment of global recession. Growth resumed in 2003, and estimates call for strong growth until 2007, slowly dropping until the end of the decade.
GDP - per capita$34,600 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)5.9% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productspotatoes, green vegetables, mutton, dairy products, fish
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 11.8%, industry: 22.3%, services: 65.9% (2005 est.)
Industries fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power; tourism
Population below poverty line (%)NA
Debt - external$3.073 billion (2002)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture, fishing and fish processing 10.3%, industry 18.3%, services 71.4% (2003)

Iceland: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)296,737
Population growth rate (%) (2005)0.91%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)3.0
Percent rural (2003)7.2%
Median age (years)total: 34 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)1.92 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%

Largest Cities in Iceland

Cities and urban areas in Iceland with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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