Iceland was extensively forested when it was first settled. When the Vikings first arrived in the 9th century, the Nordic island was covered in 25 to 40 percent forest, compared to 1% in the present day. In the late 12th century, Ari the Wise (Ari Thorgilsson, 1067–1148 AD), Iceland’s most prominent medieval chronicler, described it in the Íslendingabók (Book of Icelanders Notes 1) as “forested from mountain to sea shore”. Unfortunately, after the permanent human settlement, the forests were heavily exploited for firewood, timber and to make room for farming. Within a few centuries, almost all of Iceland’s trees were gone. This rapid deforestation has resulted in massive soil erosion that puts the island at risk for desertification. Today, many farms have been abandoned. Three-quarters of Iceland’s 100,000 km2is affected by soil erosion, 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi) serious enough to make the land useless.
Today, the Icelandic Forest Service Notes 2 has taken on the mammoth task of bringing back the woodlands. They plant around three million seedlings each year in the island’s soil. With the help of forestry societies and forest farmers, Iceland’s trees are slowly beginning to make a comeback. But there are many difficulties. For example, as the climate getting warmer, the winters have become milder. As a result, many of the trees planted back in the 1950s, especially Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) are literally dying after several decades of being reasonably good. Watch this short film by Euforgen (published by the National Geographic channel) to learn more about how their efforts are working to benefit Iceland’s economy and ecology through forestry.
Continue reading Watch: Iceland Is Growing New Forests for the First Time in 1,000 Years
Planet.com, a team of analysts and rocket scientists, software engineers and creatives, environmentalists and researchers, have published an amazing post on their Medium account, @planetlabs. In the post titled “Earth’s Wonders Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before”, you can see amazing aerial photos of some famous places.
Below, you can see an example of the amazing photos published in the post: “The Pearl-Qatar”.
Continue reading Earth’s Wonders Like You Have Never Seen Them Before
How far away can you get from everybody else on Earth? A video, published by RealLifeLore channel on YouTube answers this very question. The answer is “actually quite far”, there are a lot of extremely remote places left in the world and some of them have actually yet to be reached by anybody in all of history. The world is an enormous place. Here are the most remote places on Earth.
Continue reading Most Remote Places on Earth
“Let’s imagine that you have been suddenly teleported to the following locations, and then, imagine how or if you would escape.”
NASA astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik, the commander of the Expedition 53 (the 53rd expedition to the International Space Station) has published a beautiful video on his twitter account titled “Through the eyes of a spaceman: One World Many Views”. In the video, Bresnik shared photos of places he’d visited on Earth alongside photos of the same locations he snapped from space. He also wrote: “You don’t have to be in outer space to experience the beauty of our home planet. Capture the beauty of a moment, or the excitement of an instant, and share it with others.”
Continue reading Watch: Astronaut Shares Photos of Places He’d Visited on Earth Alongside Photos of the Same Locations he Snapped from Space
Using a two-seater ultralight aircraft built by himself, Frenchman Christian Moullec flies with migrating birds since 1995. In that year, dubbed the “birdman“, Moullec, saw that lesser white-fronted geese were struggling with their migration from Germany to Sweden. Inspired by the work of the famous Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz Notes 1, known as “the man who walked with geese”, he decided to help them and built his handmade aircraft. Today, if the weather permits, he flies with birds almost every day and guides them through their journey. This stunning footage published by National Geographic shows Moullec, “the man who flies with migrating birds” guiding the flocks of vulnerable species in his ultralight and taking enthralled passengers with him. According to National Geographic, he takes tourists up to fly with birds from March through October.
Continue reading Watch: The Man Who Flies With Migrating Birds
On Sunday, January 07, 2018, the residents of Aïn Séfra, a small town in Algeria, experienced a rare phenomenon: snow in Sahara, world’s hottest desert. In the video below, published by the National Geographic, snow dusted the desert’s sandy dunes. With temperatures touching 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 °C), this white blanket stayed briefly through the morning before melting away. However, a few residents found the opportunity to enjoy some winter fun.
Continue reading Snow In Sahara, World’s Hottest Desert
On October 13, 1860, the early American photographer James Wallace Black (February 10, 1825 – January 5, 1896) climbed into a hot air balloon (named Queen of the Air) with his camera, and photographed Boston from a hot-air balloon at 1,200 feet (around 365 meters). He was not the first person to do it: two years ago, French photographer (and also caricaturist, journalist, novelist, and “balloonist”) Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (6 April 1820 – 20 March 1910), known by the pseudonym Nadar, who photographed Victor Hugo on his death-bed in 1885, took photographs of Paris from a hot air balloon too. But the Frenchman’s photos were lost many years ago. On that day, Black took 8 plates of glass negative; 10 1/16 x 7 15/16 in, but only one good print resulted, which the photographer entitled “Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It”. Today, it remains the oldest surviving aerial photo.
Continue reading The Oldest Surviving Aerial Photo was Taken in 1860
Here are the top ten most beautiful Earth photos taken by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017. Which one is your favorite? Or if your favorite image was not listed here, please leave a comment below. To see all images taken from the International Space Station and published by NASA, visit Space Station Images.
Continue reading Top 10 Most Beautiful Earth Photos Taken From the International Space Station in 2017
In December 2014, an underwater volcano has made a new island with a 120-meter (400-foot) summit in the South Pacific, between two older islands (Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai) in the kingdom of Tonga. NASA satellites captured the amazing process.
On December 19, 2014, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, a volcano located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south-southeast of Fonuafo’ou (also known as Falcon Island) in the kingdom of Tonga began erupting. The nearby tourists filmed the huge explosion. The eruption continued into 2015. On January 11, 2015, a tall ash cloud rising 9 kilometers (30,000 feet) into the sky, causing a number of other flights between New Zealand and Tonga were canceled. By January 16, when the plume cleared and the ash settled, a new island had been formed by the explosion. The new island also called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai.
Continue reading Watch: Time-lapse of an Island Forming in Tonga
An amazing video published by RedBull channel: with that 360° HD Interactive video, you can explore Northeastern Italy’s Dolomites from an eagle’s point of view.
Continue reading Dolomites from an Eagle’s Point of View (360° HD Interactive Video)