Theme 1: Rangeland/Grassland Ecology--Oral Sessions

Description

The highlands of Iceland play an important role as summer rangelands for sheep. Large areas are badly degraded and the sustainability of this practice has been questioned. To achieve sustainable land management it is necessary both to obtain data on ecosystem changes over time and to ensure that the results are used by land users and policy makers in their management plans.

Currently, the first long-term national vegetation and soil monitoring programme (GróLind) is being developed in Iceland. The programme is based on an agreement between the Icelandic National Associations of Sheep Farmers, the Farmers Association of Iceland, Ministry of Industries and Innovation, and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland. The overall objective is to use ecological data to promote, in collaboration with stakeholders, sustainable land management in Icelandic rangelands.

The focus is on monitoring variables linked to ecosystem function and structure to estimate rangeland condition and detect changes over time. The programme uses an adaptive monitoring approach and focuses on vegetation, soils and land use. Data will be collected at different spatial scales. Satellite images provide data for the whole country, while drones and on-site ecosystem analyses, by land users and specialists, are used for obtaining higher resolution data. The programme will develop indicators of sustainable land use based on experiments, active ecosystem monitoring and other available information.

To ensure that GróLind meets its objectives stakeholders are actively involved in all steps of the project. This includes regular meetings of stakeholders and their integral involvement in the monitoring programme and presentation of results.

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GróLind – Sustainable Land Use Based on Ecological Knowledge

The highlands of Iceland play an important role as summer rangelands for sheep. Large areas are badly degraded and the sustainability of this practice has been questioned. To achieve sustainable land management it is necessary both to obtain data on ecosystem changes over time and to ensure that the results are used by land users and policy makers in their management plans.

Currently, the first long-term national vegetation and soil monitoring programme (GróLind) is being developed in Iceland. The programme is based on an agreement between the Icelandic National Associations of Sheep Farmers, the Farmers Association of Iceland, Ministry of Industries and Innovation, and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland. The overall objective is to use ecological data to promote, in collaboration with stakeholders, sustainable land management in Icelandic rangelands.

The focus is on monitoring variables linked to ecosystem function and structure to estimate rangeland condition and detect changes over time. The programme uses an adaptive monitoring approach and focuses on vegetation, soils and land use. Data will be collected at different spatial scales. Satellite images provide data for the whole country, while drones and on-site ecosystem analyses, by land users and specialists, are used for obtaining higher resolution data. The programme will develop indicators of sustainable land use based on experiments, active ecosystem monitoring and other available information.

To ensure that GróLind meets its objectives stakeholders are actively involved in all steps of the project. This includes regular meetings of stakeholders and their integral involvement in the monitoring programme and presentation of results.