The Role of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History
The primary role of the IINH is to conduct basic research on the zoology, botany and geology of Iceland; to handle systematic documentation of nature in Iceland; and to preserve research findings and specimens in scientific collections. The IINH maintains databases on nature in Iceland and is charged with maintaining an overview and providing advice and instruction on nature conservation and natural resource allocation. It also has a broad monitoring and educational role.
The IINH is the property of the Icelandic state and operates under Act No. 60/1992. It is under the aegis of the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources. The IINH has offices at two locations: in Garðabær and in Akureyri.
Scope of activities
The activities of the IINH fall into three principal categories:
To document, preserve, categorise and map the biota and geological formations of Iceland and record this information in databases.
- To strengthen and support natural history museums in the country
- To develop and maintain databases on plant and animal species in Iceland, fossils and rocks
- To map the distribution of organisms, vegetation communities, and habitat types
- To map bedrock and surficial deposits in Iceland, including avalanches
- To carry out basic research in the fields of systematics, palaeontology and petrology
- To keep abreast of population changes for important species and stocks. Plan and take responsibility for systematic monitoring of the biota that addresses key aspects of biodiversity
- To assess the conservation value of individual species, habitat types and geological formations, establish protective policies and publish red lists
- To assess sustainable hunting levels for stocks, evaluate the need for controls on hunting and provide authorities with advice on sustainable hunting
- To publish written material and maps of scientific merit
- To disseminate information and educational material
- To provide library and information services of a high calibre
- To act as a consultant, observer and investigating institution in matters concerning natural resource allocation, land use and conservation
- To monitor developments and trends within fields of study at the Institute and promote its work in Iceland and in international forums.