Birch Tree Yurt Cabins is a not for profit project, to provide environmentally focused tourism accommodation to the north of the island. The profits from the business will be used to fund and develop reforestation projects in the area. As well as this, it will encourage people to travel greener.
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Adrian Walder

  • Hospitality
  • Logistics
  • Reforestation
  • Sustainability
  • Horticulture
  • Arboriculture
  • Dreamer


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Birch Tree Yurts Iceland Stage One

  • Raise the money to begin project
  • Pay ‘One tree planted’ for the trees offered in the rewards
  • Register ‘Birch Tree Yurt Cabins’ as a legally recognised business in Iceland
  • Recruit a suitable candidate for the role of branch and fundraising manager (details in main text).

Stage Two

  • Launch Stage Two crowdfunding
  • Order and purchase yurt cabins
  • Start groundworks on site
  • Erect yurts, furnish, and prepare
  • Create website
  • Open – 2024/2025

Further Information

[Planet Iceland]( Video
(Video credit and full copyright Alain Garcia, Miami, USA, 2021)

Why Am I On Karolina Fund?

I fell in love with Iceland a few years ago on a road trip with my son. I had an instant connection to the country, its diverse and unique landscapes, itspeople, and its culture, and I have been in love ever since.

During the turmoil of lock down in 2020 –2022, I continued researching and learning as much as I could about this magical place and even started to learn Icelandic, ekki létt!

The more I got lost down the Icelandic 'rabbit hole,' the more I started to move away from the 'typical' social media utopian portrayals of Iceland and began to discover the real island that lies beneath this sometimes-rose-tinted view. You could say I became obsessed!

However, the past year has given me a chance to reflect on my own life evenmore; how I live it, what is important to happiness, and what I could possibly do to have more of a positive impact on the planet, albeit a small one.

In my research journey, I discovered just how massive the increase in tourism has been since Iceland's financial crash of 2008 and its impacts on the island.

I decided to stop procrastinating and try to combine my love of Iceland and the environment with a desire to do something useful and rewarding.

Since I first wrote this, I have been back to Iceland three more times. In March, I had a wonderful 14-day road trip and covered almost 3000 kms all over the island, a two-week trip to visit the site and meet up with some Icelandic friends to discuss logistics. Most recently, I took a short trip to meet up with friends and contacts that will be integral to the success of the project.

I realise that this project is quite a long read. I feel so strongly that if we are asking for this amount of money, you, the 'investor' should be told as much as possible and hopefully pick up on and share my passion for it.

Basic Project Timeline (when funded)

Stage One:

1) Raise the money to begin the project.
2) Pay ‘One Tree Planted’ for the trees offered in the rewards.
3) Register ‘Birch Tree Yurt Cabins’ as a legally recognised business in Iceland.

4) Recruit a suitable candidate for the role of branch and fundraising manager (details in main text).

Stage Two (to be launched either later in 2023 or early 2024):

1 ) Launch Stage Two crowdfunding.
2) Order and purchase yurt cabins.
3) Start groundworks on site.
4) Erect yurts, furnish, and prepare.
5) Create website.
6) Open – 2024/2025

The Rise and Rise of Tourism in Iceland and Its Effects

Iceland has always been visited and explored by adventurous travellers, however with the onset of cheap flights and social media it has entered the mainstream of travel destinations

'It may seem as though Iceland has been on the traveller's radar for decades, but in fact this island nation has only become a hot spot for tourists comparatively recently. In 2010, Iceland received fewer than half a million tourists, but according to the Icelandic Tourist Board,almost 2.2 million people came in 2017, an increase of half a million in a single year. Tourist numbers are predicted to grow to 2.5 million in 2018,according to Iceland Monitor.It's a huge number, and all the more shocking when you discover that the population of Iceland is only 334,252.That means the total number of visitors in 2017 was more than six times the number of people living there.'


Tourist numbers have decreased from 2019 due to the travel restrictions imposed by covid. Although, even in 2020 there were almost half a million – still more tourists than the population. Now with the easing of travel restrictions post-pandemic, the numbers are again on the rise; 2022 could show record visitor numbers as people feel the need to explore once again. For example, in July 2022 alone, 176,000 visitors came through the airport at Keflavik, with an estimated 1.2 million in total for the year (Forbes).

Foreign visitor numbers, the Icelandic Tourist Board.

One of the biggest issues with the rise of tourism comes from the purchase of traditional housing stock to provide tourist accommodation. This has two key effects; firstly, it removes property from the market for locals to buy/rent, and secondly, it has massively inflated prices,therefore making it extremely difficult for Icelanders starting out to find affordable housing, either to rent or buy. This project will provide accommodation without adding to this problem.

Another problem that has arisen is the damage caused to the environment by the growing number of visitors. Some of the famous tourist destinations are being damaged by the sheer number of visitors, which is a problem as most tourists visit the island for its unique and unspoilt scenery. The problem is the money spent by tourists doesn't always make it back into the 'system' that helps protect the very landscape they are there to visit. This is discussed in the link below. Although there are many responsible tourist businesses that are doing all they can to help protect Iceland, you can never have too many.

On the flip side of the issues mentioned above, it bodes well for the success of my project, as there is an ever-growing need for accommodation, almost guaranteeing year round bookings, and more visitors are seeking a responsible solution for their travel plans.

'The immensity and variety of Iceland’s natural beauty is unmatched in the world. Finding a balance between protection and utility of this land and its resources is paramount to the preservation of its splendour well into the future. Nature loving travellers should continue to flock to its shores but be aware and mindful in the choices they make while visiting'.

From The Unique Ecology of Iceland Calls for Eco-Tourism

My Concept and Project Details

The concept for Birch Tree Yurt Cabins is simple.

We are in a very fortunate situation that we already negotiated the use of land in North West Iceland, which is ideally located and close to many major tourist areas. Birch Tree Yurt Cabins will be located on 1000 hectares of land close to the eastern end of the SnæfellsnesPeninsula and the entrance to the west fjords and the start (or end) of the Arctic Coast Highway. However, it is only a short detour off the ring road, Route1 around the island.

You may be asking yourselves, "North Iceland...trees?"

Surprisingly, although located about 100 kms from the Arctic Circle, this area of the country experiences surprisingly good summers, when the planting season is. It also has good soil and a mix of terrains on the land being afforested.The shelter from nearby mountains also helps create very good tree growing conditions.

In fact, the northern most botanical gardens in the world are located in Akureyri, about a two-hour drive away, with over 7000 different species, both native and foreign. As the locals say when speaking to people from the south,"The weather is always good in the North."

The initial plan is to have two yurt cabins on the land (followed by another the year after set up) to provide affordable, fun, and environmentally-focused accommodation for tourists and Icelanders alike (yes, even the locals struggle to holiday in their own country!). In a perfect world we will develop our concept and eventually open locations in other areas of Iceland.

As well as the yurt cabins, there will also be a campsite, which in its basic form will be open from day one. I would also like to develop seasonal 'glamping' in traditional yurts for those seeking more of an adventure.

Birch Tree Yurt Cabins aim is to be able to plant at least 30,000 trees a year on the site and elsewhere.

In case you a wondering about having a ‘business partner’ and still trying to raise money? - The Icelanders I am dealing with have all been more than generous with the ‘gifting’ of land to use, providing expert advice, and contacts.They have all done the most they can to facilitate me and this project. This far outweighs any financial help they could have offered. Every Icelandic person I have spoken to or contacted about this project has been 100% behind itas they know it is needed in their country, both environmentally and to ease tourism issues.

The plan is to set the project up as 'not for profit' trust stating that it must continue as an environmental project. This will be done within the first year of operation as the process in Iceland is complicated and I will need the rental income to pay for the legal process and to comply to financial regulations.

There is also now another very important reason the project will be set up as a 'trust'. Towards the end of 2023. I received some scary news regarding myhealth. I have a type of cancer that has the potential to be terminal. Although the odds are in my favour completely, obviously I need to consider this newturn of events for the future of this dream. This diagnosis has also made me even more determined to get this done and started as soon as is humanly possible.

Please Note - We DO have contingency plans in regard to land and locations. We have worked hard to ensure that if we are successful in raising the startup costs Birch Tree Yurt Cabins will go ahead. Nothing is certain in life and things happen we have no control over. However,we have made every effort to have backup options. In the future these other options could also be used for any expansion of the project into different parts of the island. The extra land will also be great for planting different areas as well. It's a win-win, really.

What This Project is NOT About

It is NOT about making me money: 100% of the net profits will be used to support the afforestation efforts. Although there is private and government money available, the extra income from the accommodation will help maintain the campsite and help provide a better infrastructure for visitors, including volunteers,as they will be needed for this level of planting.

I want this project to be as beneficial to as many people as possible. At every stage I will support and involve local business, suppliers, and individuals.The ability to create paid seasonal jobs should develop quickly.

All this said, the business has the potential for a great income; even on low occupancy figures at an average of the yearly rates, each yurt could potentially bring in 6-7 million krona per year. After all, running costs and associated business cost the profits will still be high enough to plant at least 30,000trees a year.

Why Are There No Trees inIceland? (a common myth)

A well-known Icelandic joke - 'What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic Forest?' – ‘Stand up.’

'At the time of human settlement almost 1150 years ago, birch forest and woodland covered 25-40% of Iceland's land area. The relatively tall (to 15 m)birch forests of sheltered valleys graded to birch and willow scrub toward the coast, on exposed sites and in wetland areas and to willow tundra at high elevations.'

Extract from History of Forests in Iceland

The tree planting on site will help offset the small carbon footprint of the yurts as well as helping fight climate change and combined with existing projects already in place help with 'the possibility of sequestering a significant part, or even all of the CO2 released by Icelanders'.

Plant a Tree In Your Sleep!

I cannot express the importance of the tree planting aspect of this project.

For every night's stay booked, a minimum donation will be made (in the guest’s name) to our re-forestation partner One Tree Planted to plant 10 trees at their170-hectare afforestation site 'Dragons Nest' (see “Rewards” for details).

If this project is fully funded*, you will be directly involved in the initial planting of a minimum of 10,000 trees. When these trees mature, they will be able to sequester roughly 300 tonnes of CO2 each year, as well as improve biodiversity, prevent soil erosion, and help repair the damage we are doing. This is a legacy project, the benefits of which will be seen in 50 to 100 years’ time. Together we can change the world for future generations to enjoy. I think you'll agree that's pretty awesome.

*If you donate to this project, trees will be planted in your name (see “Rewards”for details).

For any visitors interested in getting involved with organised projects in the area, I will help facilitate this.

Tree Facts.

Why Yurt Cabins?

The main reason for choosing yurt cabins is that they will have a minimal environmental footprint and will blend seamlessly into the landscape. They will have living grass roofs and I have thoughts that building a low turf wall around each yurt would help them 'disappear' into the landscape even more as well as providing wind protection. Providing a comfortable, fun, and exciting place to stay.

After extensive research, I decided that the cabins will be 2 x 25 foot (30 foot possibly) foot buildings. I have found a few potential suppliers, they all specialise in hand-making bespoke buildings using sustainable materials and traditional techniques. Unlike the traditional yurt, these will have solid walls and an integrated platform, more like a cross between a yurt and a cabin; therefore, they are able to withstand the extremes of the Icelandic weather and would be usable all year round – the best of both worlds. Another advantage is ease of building. These cabins will be prefabricated in the UK then erected on site, allowing me to employ local contractors used to building in this environment, in conjunction with the cabin suppliers to ensure a superior outcome.

The plan for the buildings is to create a small, cosy, and functional space ideal for couples, but able to sleep up to 4 people, having 1 double bedroom,full bathroom with shower/bath, an equipped kitchen for self-catering on your stay, living/dining area with sofa bed, and log burner.

Each yurt will have its own small deck area with BBQ, a place to sit and enjoy the views. The plan when the rental income builds is to install a hot tub for each yurt.

If site logistics and costs allow, I would like to install under floor heating; if not, radiators will be used.

Some examples of the type of building that can achieved are shown below.

We want to move away from the notion of a traditional yurt inside and will take inspiration from Scandinavian design to create a rustic yet modern feeling interior, aiming to use as many recycled/upcycled and refurbished items and materials as possible,sourcing items such as bedding and mattresses from ethical and environmentally focused companies. A few examples of the 'look' are below.

Each cabin will develop its own character; one thing I don't want is for them to be clones of each other, and choosing to use recycled and reclaimed items will ensure this. I have a BA (hons) degree in Visual Culture, and this knowledge will help me create unique stylish interiors and a memorable stay for visitors.

*All services such as electricity, heating, and water will be supplied from 100% renewable sources.

What Will the Money Be Used for in Stage One?

The minimum goal of €20,00 is the total amount that would be raised by the number of general rewards on offer.
Expense Cost
Register ‘Birch Tree Yurt Cabins’ as a business in Iceland €1,500

Pay One Tree Planted for the trees offered in the rewards €1,700
Karolina Fund fees and admin €2,000

The remaining €14,800 will be used to create the job position mentioned previously and explained below.
Admin Support Position
Our project will be split into different phases of fundraising and planning. This first round of crowdfunding is to raise enough capital to get the legality of the business sorted out. However, even more excitedly, it’s my intention to use the rest to create a job for someone local. We will use the money to employ a suitable candidate to work as our branch manager in Iceland and act as a fundraising manager, setting things up there for stage two. Their main role will be organising all the administration associated with running business, but also to explore all the opportunities of grants and loans in the environmental and tourism sectors. They must of share a passion for the long-term aims of the project.
This way of starting the project makes good sense; I can still work from the UK saving my own money towards it, as well as having someone in Iceland doing the things I can’t yet. This is not only sensible, but it will also create an exciting and rewarding six months or year of work for someone.

Job Description


• Must have a good level of Icelandic and English language skills.
• Must be a legal resident or citizen of Iceland.
• Must have the ability to work alone and be able to manage time productively.
• Must have excellent communication skills and admin experience.


It is essential you understand what this project is trying to do and why and be onboard to help drive it forward and become successful. Oh, and you MUST love trees!
The ideal candidate will have some experiences of how Icelandic businesses are set up and organised, but this is not essential. An organised and methodical person would be well suited to this role, as would someone who has previous fundraising experience or a track record in this field. To start with, things will be very quiet, and you will be mainly looking into and applying for anything and everything. You will also need to keep me up to date on any administrative duties for bank accounts, taxes, and all that dull stuff.
It will be very flexible regarding hours and days worked. It would be either a full-time role, 30 hours a week for 6 months, or part-time for 12 months working 15 hours a week, most of which will done online.
This is all new to me so would be even newer to you!

Goal: 20,000 or 40,000***
Expense Cost
250 trees £50 x 50 = £2500
250 trees £100 x 25 = £2500
400 trees £500 x 10 = £5000
800 trees £1000 x 10 = £8000

Register business £1500
Tree cost £1700
Karolina Fund fees £2000
TOTAL £5200

This leaves £14,800 for a salary and other expenses for either 6 months full-time or 12 months part-time.
*All of this can just be doubled if I go for £40k instead.

Any funding received over our target will be kept in reserve and put towards Stage Two funding round if needed and used towards the very small running costs associated at this start-up stage.

As the business will be legally incorporated in Iceland, fully transparent accounts will be available, as will yearly reports detailing our reforestation efforts and what we have used the income for. We will be fully open in all aspects our company.

This project is obviously not just about the accommodation; even at this stage of funding, 1700 trees will get planted.

So That’s The Plan

Okay, that's it all in a nutshell I guess; am I crazy? Maybe. Hopeful? Very. Passionate and determined? You'd better believe it.

If you love Iceland, you'll enjoy the rewards I am offering. If you care about the environment, this is a great project to get involved in. If you are just feeling generous and want to donate to help fulfil a dream, then this is a project for you. The power of the 'crowd' can turn this dream into reality.

Unlike many other projects here, I don't have a big team with me, or money for eye-catching graphics and videos. I'm just one person with a dream and an idea that could become something very special.

This project comes with so many intrinsic benefits on so many levels across Iceland and in a small way our planet.

Why not be a part of this adventure? I'd love for you to join me. Now, let's go plant some trees together.

See you in Iceland!

Birch Tree Yurt Cabins (Iceland) Ltd is a UK registered company.

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