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Icelandic Inland Wetlands: Characteristics and Extent of Draining

Icelandic Inland Wetlands: Characteristics and Extent of Draining

Title: Icelandic Inland Wetlands: Characteristics and Extent of Draining
Author: Gudmundsson, Jon   orcid.org/0000-0002-1703-8916
Brink, Sigmundur H.
Arnalds, Olafur   orcid.org/0000-0002-9005-7347
Gisladottir, Fanney O.   orcid.org/0000-0001-8647-9080
Oskarsson, Hlynur   orcid.org/0000-0003-2743-3378
Date: 2016-06-09
Language: English
Scope: 759-769
School: Landbúnaðarháskóli Íslands
Department: Auðlinda- og umhverfisdeild (LBHÍ)
ISSN: 0277-5212
1943-6246 (eISSN)
DOI: 10.1007/s13157-016-0784-1
Subject: Votlendi; Ísland; Framræsla; Wetland draining; Wetlands
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/92

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Ólafur Arnalds, Jón Guðmundsson, Hlynur Óskarsson, Sigmundur H. Brink og Fanney Ó. Gísladóttir. 2016. Icelandic Inland Wetlands: Characteristics and Extent of Draining. Wetlands. 36:4, 759-769


Iceland has inland wetland areas with soils exhibiting both Andosol and Histosol properties which are uncommon elsewhere on Earth. They are generally fertile, with higher bird-nest densities than in similar wetlands in the neighboring countries, with nutrients released by rapid weathering of aeolian materials of basaltic nature. Icelandic inland wetlands cover about 9000 km2 constituting 19.4 % of the vegetated surfaces of the island. The wetland soils are often 1–3 m thick and store 33 to >100 kg C m−2. They have been subjected to broad-scale subsidy-driven draining for agricultural purposes. About 47 % of Icelandic inland wetlands are impacted by drainage. The ditch network extends about 30,000 km, mainly in lowland areas, where about 70 % of the wetland areas are impacted. There are >1 million wetland patches, most of them <1 ha. Much of the wetlands impacted from drainage are not used for intensive agriculture such as haymaking, however some are used for grazing. There is a need to prioritize the protection of undrained wetlands and their restoration based on a broad range of factors.


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