When the Vikings arrived in Iceland, the country is reputed to have been fairly green, with around 60% of the land covered in grass, trees, and bushes. In the centuries that followed, most of the trees disappeared due to deforestation and nibbling sheep, resulting in the country’s well-known moon-like landscape. There have been efforts at reforestation, but because of the poor soil quality, the trees are still pretty tiny.
Because of this, the popular (with tourists, at least) joke goes:
What do you do if you find yourself lost in a forest in Iceland?
This joke seems on its way to being outdated. Replanting in Reykjavik started in 1884, and the capital does actually have quite a few proper-sized trees. Whenever I walk past this birch grove, I like to keep my eyes on the trees, not the sidewalk, and pretend that I’m walking through a forest. It kind of works.