Water is one of Iceland’s most important natural resources. It is used for industrial and domestic use, for fishing, for hydropower production, and streams, rivers and lakes are important habitats for many freshwater organisms. Iceland is rich in water and has numerous streams and rivers. The effects of a large-scale change in vegetation cover of whole catchments on aquatic biodiversity, primary production and biogeochemistry has not been much studied in Iceland. Such changes are, however, taking place through afforestation and revegetation activities. Such activities have increased in Iceland in recent years, and further increase is anticipated. It is essential to gather further knowledge on how large-scale changes in vegetation cover affects water and aquatic ecosystems.
Figure. The stream "Bulungavallaß" in eastern Iceland. Its catchment is to large extent covered by Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) plantations (Photo: HMS).
In the Icelandic FORSTREAMS research project we study how a change in vegetation cover and terrestrial productivity affect water quality and aquatic ecosystems at a catchment scale.
The coordinating group:
The project is a combined effort by the Agricultural University of Iceland (AUI), University of Iceland (UI), Institute of Freshwater Fisheries (IFF), Iceland Forest Service (FS), Soil Conservation Service (SCS) and Environment and Food Agency of Iceland (MAT═S). Altogether the research group consists of 13 senior scientists and four graduate and post-graduate students. See the page "Participants" for further info.
One scientist from each institute/university has a seat in a coordinating group:
1) Prof. Bjarni D. Sigurdsson, forest ecologist at AUI (Coordinator) - His CV is found below:
2) Prof. Gisli Mar Gislason, limnologist at UI
3) Dr. Jon S. Olafsson, freshwater ecologist at IFF
4) M.Sc. Edda S. Oddsdottir, soil ecologist at FS
5) Dr. Gudmundur Halldorsson, entomologist and research director at SCS
6) Dr. Franklin Georgsson, bacteriologist at MAT═S
Memorandum of Understanding:
The group has made a formal memorandum of understanding (in Icelandic):
The ForStreams research project has received funds from the following bodies:
Environmental and Energy Research Fund of Orkuveita ReykjavÝkur (UOOR) which gives the core funding.
CAR-ES (Centre for Advanced Forest Research on Ecosystem Services), a Nordic/Baltic project.
Agricultural Productivity Fund (Framleinisjˇur landb˙naarins)
Energy Research Fund of Landsvirkjun (Orkurannsˇknasjˇur Landsvirkjunar)
The afforestation and restoration program Hekluskogar
Also, the institutes/universities involved in the FORSTREAMS project fund the salaries of their employees.
Name: Freysteinn Sigursson, geologist
Freysteinn was instrumental in designing the ForStreams project and acted as a special advisor and mentor
to the whole ForStreams research group throughout the first two years of the project. He passed away
on December 29, 2008. The ForStreams group has accepted formally to dedicate the project to his memory.