The Vitality of Vegetation


The Annual General Meeting of the East Iceland Sustainability Initiative 2019, entitled “The Vitality of Vegetation” was held in the Congregational home in Reyðarfjörður, on April 30th. This was the ninth annual general meeting of the Initiative. The chairman was Karl Óttar Pétursson, mayor of Fjarðabyggð.

In the meeting Guðrún Schmidt, Educational Representative at The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland talked about vegetation and soil. She argued that vegetation and soil are the base resources of the earth and they form the foundation for life and habitat of all ecosystems. She emphasized among other things the importance of protecting and reclaiming these vital resources.

Guðrún Óskarsdóttir is a vegetation ecologist at East Iceland Nature Research Centre. Her speech was about cohabitation of vegetation, grazing animals and industry in the Eastern part of Iceland. She explained how the vegetation in Fljótsdalsheiði heath, Vesturöræfi wilderness, Kringilsárrani area and Reyðarfjörður fjord has been monitored for more than a decade, since the Fljóstdalsstöð power plant and Fjarðaál aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður started their operation. The results show noticeable changes in the vegetation during the time in question. And though it is complicated to identify individual influencing factors, evident point to grazing and climate change as a cause of changes in vegetation.

Erlín Emma Jóhannsdóttir, a specialist at East Iceland Nature Research Centre, talked about the effect of weather and landscape on distribution and concentration of fluorine in vegetation. Erlín explained how plants absorb airborne fluorine and how weather, temperature, precipitation and wind can affect both distribution of fluorine from the aluminum plant as well as the amount of fluorine plants absorb. Erlín also explained how the concentration of fluorine in plant tissue changes with distance from the aluminum plant and prevailing winds.

After a short break Smári Kristinsson, Potroom & anode rodding Manager at Alcoa Fjarðaál, discussed how potroom maintenance, are closely connected to environmental matters. Then Ásrún Elmarsdóttir, a Project Manager at Landsvirkjun went through ongoing projects to reclaim vegetation. These projects were initiated after the construction of Kárahnjúkastífla dam started. Landsvirkjun/Fljótsdalsstöð have been in the charge of reclamation near the power station and Landbótasjóður of Norður Hérað and Landbótasjóður of Fljótsdalshreppur (both funds of volunteers in Norður Hérað and Fljótsdalshreppur) have focused on projects to reclaim vegetation in several areas both in the highland and lowland of Fljótsdalshérað.

In closing, the meeting agreed on changes in indicators 1.1 Gender Balance, 1.6 Compliance to Icelandic regulations, 1.12 Employment, 2.4 Erosion of the River Banks, 2.9 Oil/Chemical spills due to operations.


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