Three acts of parliament govern the activities of the IINH:
- Act No. 60/1992 on the Icelandic Institute for Natural History and nature centres.
- Act No. 64/1994 on the protection, conservation and hunting of birds and wild mammals
- Act No. 60/2013 on nature conservation in Iceland
The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH) operates under Act No. 60/1992. Article 4 of Act No. 60/1992 defines the role of the IINH and its main tasks.
Act No. 60/2013 contains numerous clauses on the role of the IINH in nature conservation:
- To manage documentation of natural heritage sites and assessment of their conservation value,
- To maintain Part C of the Nature Conservation Register (Náttúruminjaskrá) and make recommendations on new sites for inclusion, and
- To make recommendations on natural heritage sites for inclusion in the strategic plan of the Nature Conservation Register (Part B).
The IINH is responsible for monitoring as per the provisions of the legislation. The IINH organises monitoring, provides reports in accordance with legislation (e.g., in connection with nature protection), handles education and instruction, and advises the minister on nature conservation issues.
Under Article 4 of Act No. 64/1994, the IINH is responsible for studying wild birds and mammals in Iceland and providing advice on the condition and sustainable harvest of populations that are hunted. The IINH alone has the authority to mark wild birds in Iceland. Anyone who finds or captures a marked bird is required to send it the IINH, along with more detailed information on the find.
The provisions of various other acts define specific aspects of the IINH’s functions and operations. Many of these provisions impose extensive obligations on the IINH in an advisory role