"Before 871 Iceland, which is about the size of Kentucky, was essentially empty. The only land mammals were arctic foxes. Between eruptions it was pretty quiet, except for the wind, the sea, and the screech of seabirds. The Icelanders infused this empty land with meaning—nearly every place seems linked to the ancient sagas somehow—but they also denuded it. Birch forests once filled lowlands and valleys, covering at least a quarter of the country; now it’s one percent. Trees were felled for charcoal until the 19th century."
Robert Kunzig i National Geographic
om Islands utveckling.