Challenges, Action & ResultIceland has experienced challenges with degradation of its Úlfarsárdalur Valley wetlands due to climate change and development causing increased CO2 emissions. The continued accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase the demand for ecosystem-services, such as flood prevention, freshwater, and especially carbon sequestration, all of which healthy wetland eco-systems provides. However, wetlands ability to mitigate climate change impacts and support human well-being drastically decreases with changes in environmental condition. The City of Reykjavik has put forth a comprehensive Climate Action Plan and a Biodiversity Policy, which will help mitigate the degradation.
The City of Reykjavik has outlined actions to meet its 2040 carbon neutrality goal set forth in its 2016 Climate Policy, which includes changes in land-use. A key component of the policy is the mapping of possible carbon capturing through establishment of forestry and reclaiming of wetlands. Biodiversity is identified as a key mitigator of climate change and provider of crucial eco-system services for human subsistence on earth. Wetlands deliver the breeding ground for biodiversity and habitats for numerous species including birds, insects, and microorganisms. Therefore, the City has increased its efforts in conservation, restoration, and habitat invigoration, including wetland restoration to help restore biodiversity and the vital wetland eco-systems.
The preservation efforts of wetland areas in and around Reykjavik is central to delivering on the city’s Climate Action Plan and Biodiversity Policy. We follow the climate action developments in Iceland closely, and look to the City of Reykjavik for inspiration on their efforts with restoring the Úlfarsárdalur Valley wetlands and Icelandic eco-systems.