News on the website of Forest Society of Reykjavik
Project Circulation : creation of a conceptual and touchable installation at the Finnmörk forest site in Heiðmörk, Iceland
Prior to the arrival of the Vikings in the years 900 forest covered 40% of the area of Iceland. In only about one hundred years felling of trees led to the loss of virtually all forest. Today Iceland has a significant challenge in battling erosion, which is one of the reasons for intensified afforestation efforts. Although afforestation work has been carried out for a long time, progress is slow due to the climate: at present about 1,5% of the area is covered by birch-forest and 0,4% by other species. The aim is to reach 12% forest coverage of the land by the year 2100.
In 1947 the Municipal Government of Reykjavík decided to establish a nature reserve close to the city calling it Heiðmörk. Heiðmörk, where active afforestation and ground water protection join together, was inaugurated in 1950. The nature reserve area is about 3200 hectares and has half a million visitors annually.
The responsibility for maintenance of Heiðmörk lies with the Forest Society of Reykjavík supported by the City of Reykjavík, the energy company Veitur and the Municipality of Garðabær.
The local Finland association received a plot of land in Heiðmörk from the Forest Society of Reykjavík in 1997 in honour of Finland celebrating 80 years of independence. The 2-3 hectares lot is called Finnmörk. That very first year the Finland association planted 80 Finnish weeping birches and 105 Icelandic birches. According to the chair of the association at the time Einar Óskarsson the birches were the first Finnish weeping birches to be planted in Iceland. Planting of trees continued for approximately ten years.
Forests is one of the main themes in 2020 of the Finnish Embassy in Iceland. The project for re-igniting the development of the Finnmörk parcel of land is part of that theme. One of the main participants in the planning and implementation of the project is Helsinki-based visual artist Anu Miettinen who has extensive experience of forest-related projects and was invited to participate in the Fresh Winds #6 International Art Biennale for five weeks in 2019/2020 in Iceland. At the time of the Biennale Miettinen started working on the Finnmörk Circulation conceptual installation together with the Icelandic Forest Service. In addition to the Forest Service, Ms Anu Miettinen, the Forest Society and the Embassy several others will participate in the project at different stages of planning and implementation: for example other actors in the forest sector in Finland and Iceland as well as local Icelanders and Finns connecting with the project on a volunteer-basis.
The planning phase of the Finnmörk Circulation project was spring 2021 and summer 2022, when the first seedlings were planted, and a visual artist, Embassy, and Heidmörk authorities planned the path route. The building of a trail and planting of saplings will occur in the summer, with an inauguration in August 2023. The project is multiannual, extending to the year 2027 with regular follow-up of the growth of the plants. The overall goal is sustainability and climate action.
In Collaboration with
Embassy of Finland, Iceland
Forest Society of Reykjavik
The Icelandic Forest Sector (IFS)
Nursery Gróðrarstöðin Þöll
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