Terrestrial ecosystems in Iceland have undergone tremendous alterations and degradation ever since the Norse first settled there in 870 C.E. Soon after recognizing the value of their land, the Norse tried to restore the damage they had done. Initial environmental protection efforts like these eventually gave way to a deep-rooted Icelandic environmentalism in the early 1900s that was both resolute and idealistic. A widespread ecological movement in the 1970s then later brought forth an ideological shift: calls for Icelandic environmental policy to be more heavily rooted in the sciences. Nevertheless, there are a number of nonscientific factors still contributing to the development of current land conservation policies and practices in Iceland. This article analyzes two case studies: The first considers the development of the 2004–2008 Nature Conservation Strategy of Iceland, while the second examines reforestation policy regarding nonnative Alaskan Nootka Lupin. Both cases speak to these nonscientific factors and how they are intrinsically embedded in environmental policy development in Iceland. These factors include the issues of conceptual clarity (or lack thereof), aesthetic values, conflicting interests, and personal values. Anthropogenically induced environmental impacts have been continually and increasingly felt all across the globe. This case study is therefore not only timely, but it also exemplifies how environmental policy may be developed in responses to these impacts.

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