Landgræðsluskógar – Land Reclamation Forests

The Land Reclamation Forests project was launched in 1990 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Icelandic Forestry Association. The association’s members, in co-operation with many other organisations, began planting trees under the banner of the Land Reclamation Forests that same year and to date over 15 million trees have been planted, in over 130 areas around the country.

Tré ársins – Tree of the Year

The IFA nominates a specific tree as Tree of the Year. The nomination is intended to highlight the good work done in Iceland in the cultivation of trees and forests and point out the cultural, environmental and historical value of trees. The nomination can be based on a variety of factors, such as the size, history or rarity of the tree species in question. A tree has been nominated annually from 1993.

Kolviður – Iceland Carbon Fund

The Iceland Carbon Fund (ICF) was founded by the IFA and the Icelandic Environment Association in 2007. The goal of the fund is to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in vegetation and soils. The fund enables people to calculate their transportation-related CO2 emissions and to buy an offset for those emissions. The amount paid goes towards forestry projects, such as tree planting. Further information is available on the ICF website:

Opinn skógur – Open forest

Open Forest is a co-operative project between the forestry associations in Iceland and various corporate sponsors. The goal of the project is to enable greater public recreation in forests and forestry sites, by opening the forest up to recreation through setting up facilities and providing educational information on the nature and history of each forest. To date 17 forests, all over the country, have been opened under the banner of the project.

Yrkja – Yrkja Fund

The Yrkja Fund was established in 1992. The initial capital of the fund consisted of proceeds from the sale of the book Yrkja, published to commemorate the 60th birthday of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, then president of Iceland. At her request the interest from the fund is used to purchase plants for elementary school children. The response from the schools in Iceland has been very positive, with about half the schools in the country taking part each year. The IFA supervises the day to day activities of the Yrkja Fund, in collaboration with the Fund ‘s board. The Fund has its own website –

Landgræðslusjóður – Land Reclamation Fund

The fund was established in 1944. From 2002 the fund has derived most of its revenue from interest on capital, with additional revenue from real estate. The main aim of the fund has from the outset been afforestation – re-establishing the forest cover in the country. The fund is also involved in general land reclamation and soil and vegetation conservation. The fund gives grants to individuals, institutions and organisations, with the IFA and its member associations in particular receiving support from the fund.


The IFA runs many different projects in the field of afforestation and environmental improvement and over the course of its history many volunteers, both domestic and international, have taken part in this work. From 2015 the IFA has structured its volunteer work through the European Voluntary Service (EVS), part of the Erasmus+ programme. The IFA host EVS volunteers for 5 months, from May until September. The volunteers will be involved in all sort of projects with different partners, most often a local forestry association. The local associations have small or medium afforestation projects that mostly aim at providing recreational areas for local inhabitants and enriching biodiversity. The volunteers will help such local association to conduct small projects including path making, planting and branch picking.

Participant profile:
Participants should be interested in nature and physical outdoor work. Education on environmental matters is a plus, knowledge and experience in forestry is particularly welcome. The work done is physically demanding, so ill suitable for physically and mentally disabled people. Once training is completed participants need to be able to work and live on their own responsibility. Participants need to be fluent in English and be 20-30 years of age.

The IFA has agreements with sending organizations in 5 countries: Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria and Poland. Applicants from other countries cannot apply for this project for 2021.

Practical information:
The IFA is based in Reykjavik, but its projects and member associations are all around Iceland, so the volunteers can expect to work in many different parts of the country.

The volunteer’s base camp is at Úlfljótsvatn, about 70 km from Reykjavík, in the area of the so-called “Golden circle”.  PARTICIPANTS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THE BASE CAMP IS LOCATED IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND NOT IN A CITY. The town of Selfoss is about 20 minutes away and has all services (groceries, shopping, medical etc.).

The house at Úlfljótsvatn has all the comforts of a modern house, single sleeping rooms and an internet connection. Volunteers will have to drive for work purposes and have the use of a car during off hours. The EVS volunteers will often be on working trips for one week or more. In this case they will have access to accommodation, services and leisure at the place they are staying at.

If you have an interest in our EVS hosting project and you want to apply, please contact the sending organization based in your country. If there are any questions regarding the project, feel free to send us them at

Spain – Ecoperia
Italy – You Net
Poland – Semper Avanti
Czech Republic – INEX
Austria – CUBIC – Cultur & Bildung im Context

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