Full text: Iceland 1930

taken to preserve what still remains, and there is every prospect of 
success and of the wooded areas being increased by planting. The chief 
woods now are the Fnjéskadal’s wood in the north and the Hallorms- 
stafa wood in the east. 
Iceland has not a luxuriant vegetation; of phanerogams and vascular 
cryptogams only some 400 species grow wild in the country. The grass 
is generally short, stands very close and is of very good quality. There 
is a great deal of difference between the mountain flora and that of the 
lowlands. As we ascend the grassy plots become rarer and the growth 
more stunted. The grass in the valleys and the sea-coast lowlands has 
always been the most important product of the Icelandic soil. Human 
habitations are placed within or near the grassy plots, mostly at a height 
of 200 metres or less above the level of the sea, and in no instance 
higher than 550 metres. The higher regions, of from 400—700 metres’ alti- 
tude, are, however, by nomeans useless to the farmer, for they serve as moun- 
tain pastures and grazing grounds for his stock during the summer months. 
In the lowland districts grass begins to grow late in April or early 
in May, but much later in the highlands, a fact of great importance, 
as the flocks grazing in the mountains and thus feeding on young 
plants during a considerable part of the summer, thrive extremely 
well, and their meat has a very delicious flavour indeed. 
In the mountainous parts of Iceland is found the edible Iceland 
moss which formerly was largely gathered and proved a very whole- 
some article of food. 
Of foodplants, potatoes and Swedish turnips are grown, but owing 
to the climatic conditions not even potatoes can be grown. in the north- 
ern districts every year, and the home production is far from sufficient 
for the country’s need. Barley was raised in Iceland in the first cent- 
uries after the colonization, but in modern times grain of any kind has 
altogether ceased to be cultivated. 
Great quantities of sea weed grow along the coasts of Iceland, and are 
of no mean importance as fodder for horses and sheep, especially in 
winter. Formerly dulse (sil) was laraely gathered for human consumption. 
Of wild mammals there are very few species in Iceland, and none 
of them of any great economic importance to the population. Foxes 
which formerly were quite numerous, did a great deal of harm to the 
farmers’ live-stock by preying on their flocks, and have in conse- 
quence been almost extirpated in several districts. Of late. however, fox-

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