Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 781–787 | Cite as

A Survey of Wild Collection and Cultivation of Indigenous Species in Iceland

  • Cory William Whitney
  • Jens Gebauer
  • Molly Anderson


Hotspots of bio and cultural diversity have been and continue to be the focus of conservation efforts and ethnobotany explorations worldwide (Hoffman and Gallaher 2007) as they harbor such a great number of species and ethnicities. However, the loss of native species and habitats is also taking place in “cold spots” with low bio (Kassam 2008) and cultural diversity such as Iceland. This study is based on surveys with a select group of Icelandic people who utilize native species of plants as well as fungi and marine algae (e.g., chefs, farmers, gardeners and herbalists). It covers the use of native and naturalized introduced species and uses the terms, materials, and methods of ethnobotany to document, describe and explain these uses (Alexiades 1996). Ethnobotany’s rich and rigorous history, diverse and growing methodologies (Albuquerque and Hanazaki 2009) and potential for deepening the understanding of relationships between people and biota (Martin 1995; Balée and Brown 1996...


Native Species Marine Alga Human Food Organic Certification Slow Food 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Albuquerque, U., and Hanazaki, N. (2009). Five Problems in Current Ethnobotanical Research and Some Suggestions for Strengthening Them. Human Ecology 37: 653–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexiades, M. N. (1996). Selected Guidelines For Ethnobotanical Research: A Field Manual. The New York Botanical Garden, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Alm, T. (2002). Norwegian And Sámi Ethnobotany Of Veratrum album (Melanthiaceae). Sida 20: 611–619. SIDA Contributions to Botany 20: 611–619.Google Scholar
  4. Alm, T. (2003). On the Uses of Zostera marina, Mainly in Norway. Economic Botany 57(4): 640–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson, M. (2000). Sami children and traditional knowledge. In Svanberg, I., and Tunón, H. (eds.), Ecological Knowledge in the North: Studies in Ethnobiology. Swedish Science Press, Uppsala, pp. 55–65.Google Scholar
  6. Arnalds, O., and Barkarson, B. H. (2003). Soil Erosion and Land Use Policy in Iceland in Relation to Sheep Grazing and Government Subsidies. Environmental Science and Policy 6(1): 105–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Arnalds, Ó., Aradóttir, Á. L., and Thorsteinsson, I. (1987). The Nature And Restoration of Denuded Areas in Iceland. Arctic and Alpine Research 19: 518–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Arnalds, O., Gisladottir, F. O., and Sigurjonssona, H. (2000). Sandy Deserts Of Iceland: An Overview. Journal of Arid Environments 47(3): 359–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Balée, W., and Brown, J. C. (1996). Ethnobotany. In Levinson D., and Ember M. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology 2: 399–404.Google Scholar
  10. Benediktsson, J. (1968). Íslendingabók. Landnámabók, Íslenzk Fornrit 1. Hid Íslenzka Fornritafélag. Reykjavík, pp. 525.Google Scholar
  11. Blake, S.F. (1961). Geographical Guide to Floras of the World: An Annotated List with Special Reference to Useful Plants and Common Plant Names: Part II, Western Europe : Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Great Britain with Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, San Marino, and Switzerland. Department of Agriculture, United States 2, pp. 742.Google Scholar
  12. Buckland, P. C., Sadler, J., and Sveinbjarnardottir, G. (1992). Palaeoecological investigations at Reykholt, Western Iceland. In Morris, C. D., and Rackham, D. J. (eds.), Norse and Later Settlement and Subsistence in the North Atlantic. Dept of Archaeology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, pp. 149–68.Google Scholar
  13. Dugmore, A. J., and Erskine, C. C. (1994). Local and regional patterns of soil erosion in Southern Iceland. In Birkenhauer, J. (ed.), Environmental Change in Iceland. Münchener Geographische Abhandlungen, Reihe B, München, pp. 63–78.Google Scholar
  14. Edvardsson, R., and McGovern, T. H. (2005). Archaeological Excavations at Vatnsfjordur 2003–04. Archaeologica Islandica 4: 16–31.Google Scholar
  15. Edwards, K. J., Buckland, P. C., Dugmore, A. J., McGovern, T. H., Simpson, I. A., and Sveinbjarnardóttir, G. (2004). Landscapes circum-landnám: Viking settlement in the North Atlantic and its human and ecological consequences: a major new research programme. In Housley, R., and Coles, G. M. (eds.), Atlantic Connections and Adaptations: Economies, Environments, and Subsistence in Lands Bordering the North Atlantic. Oxbow, Oxford, pp. 260–271.Google Scholar
  16. Eggertsson, O. (1993). Origin Of The Driftwood On The Coasts Of Iceland, A Dendrochronological Study. Jokull 43: 15–32.Google Scholar
  17. Erlendsson, E., Edwards, K. J., and Buckland, P. C. (2009). Vegetational Response to Human Colonisation of the Coastal and Volcanic Environments of Ketilsstadir, Southern Iceland. Quaternary Research 72(2): 174–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eysteinsson, T., and Blöndal, S. (2003) The forests of Iceland at the time of settlement: Their utilisation and eventual fate. In Lewis-Simpson, S. (ed.), Vınland Revisited: The Norse World at the Turn of the 1st Millennium. St Johns: Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc., pp. 411–15.Google Scholar
  19. Fjellström, P. (1964). Angelica archangelica in the diet of the lapps and the nordic peoples. In Furmark, A. (ed.), Lapponica. Almqvist and Wiksell International, Uppsala, pp. 99–115.Google Scholar
  20. Fosså, O. (2006). Angelica: From Norwegian mountains to the english trifle. In Hosking, R. (ed.), Wild Food: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. Prospect Books, Totnes, pp. 131–142.Google Scholar
  21. Gudmundsson, G. (1996). Gathering and Processing of Lyme-Grass (Elymus arenarius L.). In Iceland: An Ethnohistorical Account. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 5(1–2): 13–23.Google Scholar
  22. Gunnarsson, G. (1983). Monopoly Trade And Economic Stagnation: Studies In The Foreign Trade Of Iceland, 1602–1787. Ekonomisk-historiska föreningen, Lund.Google Scholar
  23. Halldorsson, O. (1989). Skrifadar Bækur (Written Books). In Johannsson, F. F. (ed.), Islensk Jotmenning 6 (Icelandic National Culture 6). Reykjavık: Bokautga Fanjosaga pp. 57–89.Google Scholar
  24. Hallsdóttir, M. (1982). Two Pollen Diagrams From Hrafnkelsdalur. The Effect Of Settlement On The Vegetation In The Valley pp. 253–65.Google Scholar
  25. Hallsdóttir, M. (1987). Pollen Analytical Studies Of Human Influence On Vegetation In Relation To The Landnám Tephra Layer In Southwest Iceland. Lundqua Thesis 18, Lund.Google Scholar
  26. Hoffman, B., and Gallaher, T. (2007). Importance Indices in Ethnobotany. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 5: 201–218.Google Scholar
  27. Kassam, K. A. (2008). Diversity as if Nature and Culture Matter: Bio-Cultural Diversity and Indigenous Peoples. The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations 8(2).Google Scholar
  28. Kremen, C., Raymond, I., and Lance, K. (1998). An Interdisciplinary Tool For Conservation Impacts In Madagascar. Conservation Biology 12: 549–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kristinsson, H. (2010). A Guide to the Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland. Mal og menning, Reykjavik.Google Scholar
  30. Kristjansson, L. (1980). Islenzkirsja Varhættir (Icelandic Marine Customs and Practices). Bókaútgáfa Menningarsjóðs (Cultural Publishing), Reykjavık.Google Scholar
  31. Kufer, J., Förther, H., Pöll, E., and Heinrich, M. (2005). Historical and Modern Medicinal Plant Uses—The Example of the Ch’orti’ Maya and Ladinos in Eastern Guatemala. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 57(9): 1127–1152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lawson, I. T., Gathorne-Hardy, F. J., Church, M. J., Newton, A. J., Edwards, K. J., and Dugmore, A. J. (2007). Environmental Impacts of the Norse Settlement: Palaeoenvironmental Data from Helluvadstörn, Myvatnssveit, Northern Iceland. Boreas 36: 1–19.Google Scholar
  33. Lucas, G. (2010). Hofstaðir. Excavations of a Viking Age Feasting Hall in Iceland. Vol. Monograph No.1. Institute of Archaeology, Reykjavík.Google Scholar
  34. Martin, G. J. (1995). Ethnobotany: A Methods Manual. Earthscan, London.Google Scholar
  35. Nobanis, European Network on Invasive Alien Species. (2011). URL
  36. Olsen, O., and Svanberg, I. (1998). Tanning with Tormentil (Pontentilla erecta): Ecological and Ethnobotanical Aspects. Swedish Science Press, Uppsala.Google Scholar
  37. Phillips, O., and Gentry, A. H. (1993a). The Useful Plants of Tambopata, Peru: I. Statistical Hypotheses Tests with A New Quantitative Technique. Economic Botany 47(1): 15–32.Google Scholar
  38. Phillips, O., and Gentry, A. H. (1993b). The Useful Plants of Tambopata, Peru: II. Additional Hypothesis-Testing in Quantitative Ethnobotany. Economic Botany 47(1): 33–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Porsild, A. E. (1953). Edible Plants of the Arctic. Arctic 6(1): 15–34.Google Scholar
  40. Prance, G. T., Balee, W., Boom, B. M., and Carneiro, R. L. (1987). Quantitative Ethnobotany and the Case for Conservation in Amazonia. Conservation Biology 1(4): 296–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quinlan, M. (2005). Considerations For Collecting Freelists In The Field: Examples From Ethnobotany. Field Methods 17: 219–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Reyes-Garcia, V., Vadez, V., Tanner, S., McDade, T., Huanca, T., and Leonard, W. (2006). Evaluating Indices Of Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Methodological Contribution. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2: 21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Simpson, I. A., Vésteinsson, O., Adderley, W. P., and McGovern, T. H. (2003). Fuel Resources In Landscapes Of Settlement. Journal of Archaeological Science 30(11): 1401–1420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Svanberg, I. (1997). Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) as a Food Plant. Fróƒskaparrit 45: 45–55.Google Scholar
  45. Svanberg, I. (1998a). The Use of Wild Plants In The Faroe Islands 1590–1990: A Contribution to Scandinavian Ethnobotany. Svenska Linnésällskapets Årsskrift 1996–1997 81–130.Google Scholar
  46. Svanberg, I. (1998b). The use of Rush (Juncus) and Cottongrass (Eriophorum) as Wicks: An Ethnobotanical Background to a Faroese Riddle. Svenska Landsmål och Svenskt Folkliv 323: 145–157.Google Scholar
  47. Svanberg, I. (2001). Trade and use of Gentiana purpurea in Sweden. Svenska Landsmål och Svenskt Folkliv 124: 69–80.Google Scholar
  48. Svanberg, I. (2002a). Kransborren (Marrubium vulgare) Som Odlingsväxt i Sverige. Svenska Lands- mål och Svenskt Folkliv 327: 217–231.Google Scholar
  49. Svanberg, I. (2002b). The Sami use of Lactuca alpina as a Food Plant. Svenska Linnésällskapets Årsskrift 2000–2001: 77–84.Google Scholar
  50. Svanberg, I. (2005). Ethnobiology, in the Saami: A cultural encyclopedia. In Kulonen U-M., Seurujärvi-Kari I., and Pulkkinen R. (eds.), Suomalaisen Kurkjallisuuden Seura, Helsinki, pp. 103–104.Google Scholar
  51. Svanberg, I. (2007). Plant knowledge as indicator of historical cultural contacts: Tanning in the Atlantic fringe. In Pieroni, A., and Vandebroek, I. (eds.), Travelling Cultures and Plants: the Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacy of Migrations. Berghahn, Oxford, pp. 227–244.Google Scholar
  52. Sveinbjarnardottir, G., Erlendsson, E., Vickers, K., McGovern, T. H., Milek, K. B., Edwards, K. J., Simpson, I. A., and Cook, G. (2007). The Palaeoecology of a High Status Icelandic Farm. Environmental Archaeology 12(2): 187–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Taksdal, T. (1986). Trekk Frå Islandsk Folkekultur. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo.Google Scholar
  54. Tardio, J., and Pardo-de-Santayana, M. (2008). Cultural Importance Indices: A Comparative Analysis Based on the Useful Wild Plants of Southern Cantabria (Northern Spain). Economic Botany 62(1): 24–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vésteinsson, O., McGovern, T. H., and Keller, C. (2002). Enduring Impacts: Social and Environmental Aspects of Viking Age Settlement in Iceland and Greenland. Archaeologia Íslandica 2: 98–136.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cory William Whitney
    • 1
  • Jens Gebauer
    • 2
  • Molly Anderson
    • 3
  1. 1.Social Policy Ecology Research InstituteBa Dinh District, HanoiVietnam
  2. 2.Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems with Special Focus on Horticulture, Faculty of Life SciencesRhine-Waal University of Applied SciencesKleveGermany
  3. 3.Food & Sustainable Agriculture SystemsCollege of the AtlanticBar HarborUSA

Personalised recommendations