[Sca-cooks] Icelandic trees and wood

otsisto otsisto at socket.net
Tue Oct 10 01:40:40 PDT 2006

The indigenous trees of Iceland are Birch (Betula pubescens Enrh) and Rowan
(Sorbus aucuparia L) The birch is the predominant of the two.
In 1950's Engelmann Spruce, Alpine Fir and Bristlecone Pine were introduced
to the Icelandic landscape.
Later Siberian Larch and Mountain Pine were introduced.
I do not believe any of the above mentioned is the kind of wood used in the
main body of a boat.


-----Original Message-----
Ana commented:
  <<< I live in Sweden and has been in Iceland several times. Has
never seen
any cedar here, is'nt a tree from the South?
The most common tree here is the birch and Iceland was dense forested
at the beginning of the millenium. But they used all the trees to
build boats. >>>

I'm not sure what trees are common in Iceland, but I agree, I don't
think cedar would be one of them. I think both the soil and the
weather rule them out. Cedars/Junipers are common trees here, but I
don't believe they are native here in central Texas.

I am curious though about what evidence you have that the trees of
Iceland were cut down for boat building. The reading I've done on
this says that the Norse that moved to Iceland quickly lost their
shipbuilding arts and became dependent upon the ships coming from
Denmark because the trees in Iceland were not suitable for building
large boats. This was one reason that Iceland was so isolated for
centuries, along with the problems due to the climate changing.

I think Iceland lost its trees to simple domestic use and perhaps the
impact of imported grazing animals. I think Nanna covers this in her
book. I'll try to dig out her book and look in it, if anyone is
interested. Nanna, are you out there?


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