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
We live on a strange rock… and nobody realizes this better than astronauts. A new documentary, including astronaut experiences of looking down at Earth from space, is coming to National Geographic Channel soon. The award-winning American filmmaker and writer Darren Aronofsky, the American actor, producer, rapper, comedian, and songwriter Will Smith, and experienced astronauts join forces to tell the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth. Premieres March 26 on the National Geographic Channel. Here’s the trailer of “One Strange Rock” documentary.
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The Lion (Panthera leo) is the second largest cat in the world, after the tiger. The lion and tiger are closely related and they share a very similar body type. As its scientific name suggests, Lion is one of the five members of the Panthera genus.Notes 1 Here are 20 amazing lion facts.
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Earth’s outer shell is divided into multiple plates that slowly glide over the mantle. The movement of these plates slowly changes Earth’s surface over time by merging, or separating, continents. 250 million years from now, consistent with the supercontinent cycleNotes 1, there will be a possible future supercontinent called Pangaea Ultima. Hypothesized by Christopher Scotese, a geologist at the University of Texas at Arlington, Pangaea Ultima earned its name from its similarity to the previous Pangaea supercontinent, which was formed about 335 million years ago, and began to break apart about 175 million years ago. Here is a beautiful video published by the Tech Insider channel showing the formation of this supercontinent.
Continue reading Watch: How Earth will look in 250 million years
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.
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Crocodiles (subfamily Crocodylinae) or true crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Although they are big, they suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration. In the Internet age, photographs of crocodiles manipulated digitally to make the animal look much larger than it is. So, how big the largest crocodiles are actually? Here are the top 10 largest crocodiles ever recorded.
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Crocodiles are aquatic reptiles, and among the most feared carnivores on Earth, because of their size, big powerful jaws and aggressiveness. They are so successful predators – once they were living alongside the dinosaurs. After the Chicxulub impact, which happened around 66 million years ago, the non-avian dinosaurs were gone but crocodiles were managed to survive. Here are top 20 amazing crocodile facts about these fascinating beasts.
Related: Top 10 most googled crocodile whys
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Identifying the largest dinosaurs ever lived isn’t an easy task, because it’s very rare to unearth a complete fossil. Furthermore, only a tiny percentage of these amazing animals ever fossilized, and most of these “lucky” bodies will remain buried underground forever. So, we may never know exactly what dinosaur was the biggest (or the tiniest) ever.
Despite this fact, size always has been one of the most interesting aspects of these prehistoric animals. There are extreme variations in their size, from the tiny hummingbirds, which can weigh as little as three grams, to the titanosaurs, which could weigh as much as 70 tonnes, or even more.
Here are the largest dinosaurs ever lived.
Continue reading Largest dinosaurs ever lived
An alligator’s brain weighs only 8 or 9 grams, and it has the size of a walnut, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid. In fact, they’re much smarter than you’d think. In Everglades National Park in the United States, a 400-pound (181 kg) gator displays a clever way and uses a bait branch stick to catch egrets during the breeding season.
Continue reading Gator Uses Bait Stick to Catch Egrets (Video)
A spectacular video from the National Geographic: explorer Sam Cossman operated camera-mounted drones to capture high-definition images of the Marum (also spelled Maroum) crater in Ambrym, Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a Pacific island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean.
Continue reading Drones Sacrificed for this Spectacular Volcano Video