Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

individual

Authors' Class Standing

N. Blanks, Freshman

Lead Presenter's Name

Nikolas Blanks

Faculty Mentor Name

Wes Lewis & Dr. Kelly George

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to investigate the lasting impacts that the Norse and Viking settlers had on Iceland’s environment and people. Through an extensive preliminary literature review and research process, I learned that Viking settlers colonized Iceland quickly in their hunt for resources. The settlers ravaged the land of its natural birch forests, using the wood for various necessities. This rapid deforestation contributed to current issues Iceland has had with soil erosion and lack of forest growth (Luft, 2001). While in Iceland, I kept a field journal to record my observations and notes, as well as conduct an interview on the various ways Vikings have left their mark on Iceland. I attended the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland to learn more about what Iceland is doing to reverse the effects of soil erosion and to gather more information about the Vikings’ role in the changing environment. I found that the Viking settlers’ deforestation of Iceland was the tipping point for the environment. Without the birch forests and other plants, the soil became loose and vulnerable to the strong winds of Iceland (Catlin, 2016). Despite the Vikings’ role in the environment, I observed that Icelanders are very proud of their heritage.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Viking and Norse Settlers and Their Lasting Impact on Iceland and Its People

The purpose of this research was to investigate the lasting impacts that the Norse and Viking settlers had on Iceland’s environment and people. Through an extensive preliminary literature review and research process, I learned that Viking settlers colonized Iceland quickly in their hunt for resources. The settlers ravaged the land of its natural birch forests, using the wood for various necessities. This rapid deforestation contributed to current issues Iceland has had with soil erosion and lack of forest growth (Luft, 2001). While in Iceland, I kept a field journal to record my observations and notes, as well as conduct an interview on the various ways Vikings have left their mark on Iceland. I attended the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland to learn more about what Iceland is doing to reverse the effects of soil erosion and to gather more information about the Vikings’ role in the changing environment. I found that the Viking settlers’ deforestation of Iceland was the tipping point for the environment. Without the birch forests and other plants, the soil became loose and vulnerable to the strong winds of Iceland (Catlin, 2016). Despite the Vikings’ role in the environment, I observed that Icelanders are very proud of their heritage.

 

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