• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Iceland's soil restoration project?  RSS feed

 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I came across the article on Al Jazeera today, "Experts unearth concerns over 'peak soil'" (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/05/2013531155229173615.html) that talks about the program in Iceland to restore their soils now that they've lost some 96% of their forests and grasslands to desertification. This is the first I've heard of the problem in Iceland and was curious about your opinions about whether the UN is doing a good job in their "Land Restoration Training Programme", or like so many bureaucracies, making a mess of it. The article reports that the soil restoration is moving at a painfully slow pace.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First off, there's not much bureaucracy in Iceland, everyone is on a first name basis*. Second, they have known about this problem for centuries, when the soils blew away in the decades after the Vikings first settled the island. Jared Diamond mentions Iceland in his book "Collapse" as an example of success in comparison to the Greenland Norse, who weren't able to adapt and died out. But the way they adapted was to give up having agriculture and by doing other things (a lot of fishing).

Soil restoration is moving about as slowly as reforestation, there still seems to be more short-term profit in cutting down trees and ruining the soil. Although tropical rainforests are vital to the health of the planet, there are interests that can make more money slashing and burning them and putting in a palm oil plantation that doesn't sequester nearly as much carbon. In the long-term view, soil restoration and reforestation can solve the problem of greenhouse gases and global warming, because they both take CO2 out of the atmosphere and forested areas increase cloud cover which counterbalances the warming.

If you want to see a coherent plan (that needs a lot more political support) take a look at Plan B.

*They don't have last names in Iceland, if the need arises for a second name, they use patronymics (derived from your father's name). This causes all sorts of problems for Icelanders when they travel to a country where 2 names are standard.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6146
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
192
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On the name thing, Icelanders do have last names. I've known several who had a last name. I don't think it is typical for them to use a last name as often as is typical in North America. The names concern lineage with many having son in them. If you're of British decent and your name has son or ton at the end, you've got Viking ancestors. http://www.exploreiceland.is/surnames.html

The birch trees of Iceland were cleared mostly in smelting bog iron, which is a very low grade iron ore. Just as the Romans deforested the Iberian peninsula to supply forge wood, The Norse quickly depleted this resource and put the land to grazing. Massive erosion resulted.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale, your link makes my point

A man named Jón Einarsson and his wife Brindís Magnúsdóttir have a son named Ólafur and a daughter named Edda.
Ólafur's last name will not be Einarsson like his father's; it will become Jónsson, literally indicating that Ólafur is the son of Jón (Jóns + son).


Imagine when a thick immigration agent in a foreign country sees Jon traveling with Olafur and wonders why they have a different "last name". Is there child trafficking going on?
 
Shane McKee
Posts: 108
Location: Northern Ireland
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Iceland is an amazing place; well worth a visit. We went on our honeymoon. At one hotel we had to tie two single beds together with our socks to make a double so we could stay warm
 
today's feeble attempt to support the empire
paul's latest kickstarter
https://permies.com/t/65247/permaculture-design/permaculture-design-alternative-technology-live
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!