Pilot Project: Biodiversity in Urban and Coastal Areas in Iceland

The Nature-based solutions in the Nordic region programme has allocated 650,000 DKK to a pilot project in Iceland that aims to increase biodiversity in Reykjavík.
Grasagarður Reykjavíkur is the name of the outdoor collection of living plants located in the capital of Iceland. The park conserves some 3000 plant species in eight plant collections. The collections give an idea of the enormous diversity of vegetation in the northern temperate zone.

Among the staff are Hjörtur Þorbjörnsson and Magnus Göransson, who work with crop wild relatives, which are wild plant species that are closely related to crop plants. Crop wild relatives can harbor traits which can be of importance for improving our crops to our needs, such as improving taste, nutritional quality, disease resistance and increase yield. They can also carry traits of importance to adapt our crops to the challenges imposed by climate chance, such as drought and flooding resistance and heat stress.

Grasagarður Reykjavíkur has now applied for funding for a project they call Nature-based solutions: Crop wild relative biodiversity in urban green and coastal areas in Reykjavík. The funding will be used to provide a toolbox for genetic plant breeders working towards a sustainable and increasingly urbanized agriculture for local food production. The steering group for the programme supported the proposal and decided to allocate 650,000 DKK to the project.

With the project Hjörtur and Magnus will increase the ongoing work with crop wild relatives for a new urban environment. The work started a month ago and we look forward to following it on the sidelines.

Good luck with the project Grasagarður Reykjavíkur.