Title: Analysis of vegetation and selected soil properties in four different habitats at the Hekla Forest Project area in Iceland

Author(s): Lahya Tjilumbu
Final project
Year of publication:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Ulfur Oskarsson , Hreinn Oskarsson , Heiða Gehringer
soil properties, Hekla forest project, forest habitat, biomass, carbon, nitrogen, reclamation


Due to the long history of land degradation caused by land use activities coupled with natural factors, Iceland has embarked on efforts to fight land degradation by reclaiming and restoring degraded areas mainly through revegetation. The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between the vegetation and some selected soil properties in four different habitats in the Hekla Forest Project area near Mt Hekla in South Iceland. Vegetation cover and aboveground biomass were studied at three sites in each habitat, selected by stratified random sampling. Soil samples were taken at the same sites and soil profiles were examined. The results show that the forest habitat had greater vegetation cover and aboveground biomass than all other habitats. Vegetated habitats, such as the grassland habitats in the study, which hadn’t been eroded in the past, had thicker soils, higher soil C and N content, lower soil bulk density and lower pH than habitats affected by erosion. The results also reveal the potential increase in biomass, vegetation diversity and soil carbon and nitrogen content over decades following reclamation of eroded and barren areas.

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