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Vatnajökull Nationalpark and the protection of the Icelandic Highlands

Vatnajökull National Park, established in 2008, encompasses not only all of Vatnajökull glacier but also extensive surrounding areas. These include the national parks previously existing at Skaftafell in the south and Jökulsárgljúfur in the north, so that today's national park covers 14% of Iceland (about 13.920 km2 as of June 2014) and ranks amongst Europe's largest. In general, national parks are protected areas which are considered unique because of their nature or cultural heritage. The unique qualities of Vatnajökull National Park are primarily its great variety of landscape features, created by the combined forces of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic and geothermal activity. The establishment of the Vatnajökull National Park is related to a major national environmental movement in the 1990s to protect the Icelandic Highlands as one of Europe's largest wilderness areas against physical fragmentations such as dams, power lines and roads. There are today increasing discussions, whether the present protection area of the national park need to be extended over the entire highlands in order to cope with these continuous threats.

Year: 2014

Tags: fauna Iceland

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