Soil conservation and restoration activities have an important role in meeting the goals of the Climate Convention. Carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main atmospheric greenhouse gases, is converted to organic matter by plants, which in turn is the foundation of land fertility and food production. Thus, CO2, being an environmental threat in the atmosphere, once converted to organic material it is a valuable resource. CO2 can in fact be regarded as a misplaced resource!
As a result of the massive land degradation, vast amounts of carbon have been lost from Icelandic ecosystems. It is estimated that an equivalent of up to 1.8 billion tons (1.8 x 106) CO2 has been lost from soil and vegetation since settlement. For comparison, annual CO2 emissions from human activities in Iceland are about 3 million tons CO2. The Kyoto protocol to the Climate Convention includes options that allow nations to use conversion of CO2 to organic matter as one of the tools in meeting national emissions targets.