The Friendship Forest and Iceland Forest Association
Vinaskógur (Friendship Forest) was opened in June 26th, 1990 when two were trees planted - one planted by then President of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir; and the other by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The forest is close to Þingvellir National Park. Tree planting is usually done by visiting heads of states and other dignitaries. The forest is a symbol of friendship and peace amongst peoples of the world. Since its opening, many Heads of State have planted trees and there are two pillars in the forest inscribed with the names of many Head of State and Dignitaries. Successive Presidents of Iceland are the protectors of the forest.
In many ways, under the banner of the Iceland Forestry Association (IFA), almost all forests in Iceland are Friendship Forests since they were and are being created by volunteers with a strong bond of friendship and camaraderie, often working alongside State Foresters (who are also members of the IFA) hence they are in effect Friendship forests”
The forestry associations in Iceland are volunteer organisations, bringing people together through a shared interest in trees and forestry and with the common goal of increasing the forest and vegetation cover of the country. Anyone can join a forestry association - so one does not have to be a forester or forest owner to take part - you just have to want to support the common goal. Members are thus from all walks of life, laymen to farmers and professional foresters. The planting done by forestry associations is largely for recreational forests (areas close to towns and cities) and land reclamation forests, that focus on re-establishing vegetation in sparsely vegetated areas (to be used for recreation in the future). The associations work, to various extent, with other institutions and organizations in the forestry sector, municipalities and other governmental organisations, forestry and general farmers, other non-governmental organisations and individuals, depending on local conditions and the project at hand
This page, indeed much of the content of the website, was created primarly to honor the Icelanders, without whose friendship and generous support this website would not have been created. The primary institutions are Iceland Forestry Assocation (Reykjavík) Soil Conservation Service (Gunnarsholt), Iceland Forest Service (Egilsstaðir and Mogilsá), and the Agricultural University of Iceland (Hvanneyri). But, there literally many friends and colleagues in every district of Iceland that have in one way or another contibuted to this website - such that, if I were plant a tree in the Friendship Forest for every Icelandic friend & colleague, The Friendship Forest would surely quadruple in size!
Iceland Forest Service Map of Forestry Associations Skógræktarfélags Ísland