Cultural History Encyclopedia

More information about this article

More information about this article

Published 07. July 1999

Last update 04. June 2019




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Forest and memorial stone at Ersholmen

On the small island of Ersholmen between the mainland and the island of Selja the first attempt at afforestation at Selje was carried out by the vicar Johan Daniel Stub Landmark in 1876.

Ersholmen seen from the mainland with the island of Selja in the background to the left and Stadlandet to the right.

Ersholmen seen from the mainland with the island of Selja in the background to the left and Stadlandet to the right.

Owner: Borgny Dam-Nielsen.

Date: 2001.

Photographer: Borgny Dam-Nielsen.

The vicar who planted a lasting memorial of himself

Johan Daniel Stub Landmark was born in Fjaler in 1820. He became vicar at Selje in 1875, and died there in 1882. He was married to Elisabeth Laurense Rein, daughter of the vicar/poet and the "Eidsvoll man" (representative at the first constitutional assembly in 1814) Jonas Rein. Landmark published a number of textbooks in arithmetic and orthography. At Selje he created a lasting memorial after himself in 1876 when he planted a forest on the treeless island of Ersholmen. This became a good test of afforrestation in a harsh coastal climate.

Ersholmen and the afforestation

Ersholmen is exposed to strong winds from practically all directions, and the breakers may wash far up on the small island. The soil was very acid and waterlogged, and, consequently, the land first had to be drained by means of ditches before any planting could take place. Afterwards the following tree species were planted: 500 mugo pine, 500 Scots pine, 200 white spruce, 100 Norway spruce, 400 larch, 24 ash, 24 black alder, and 12 oak trees. In addition seeds were sown of black alder, birch, Norway maple, mountain ash, and Norwegian whitebeam. The forest grew nicely, and for a while trees were felled on the island of Ersholmen.

The New Year's hurricane in 1991

As the forest became higher and denser, it gave the mainland good shelter against the wind. For more than 100 years most of the trees weathered the storms, but the forest took a severe beating during the New Year's hurricane in 1991. Even today we can see tangled-up trees and roots all over the area, and from the mainland we can clearly see that the forest has become much more sparse.

The memorial stone at Ersholmen

The Forest Service erected a memorial stone at Ersholmen to commemorate the vicar Landmark. The two-metre-high stone is located in a copse of birches down by the seaside.
The following text is carved into the stone:

Johan Daniel Stub Landmark
Vicar at Selø (sic)
1875 - 1882

His mother's bosom he wanted to cover
It is a lovely thought
Henr. Wergeland

See geometric position on detailed map at Fylkesatlas or on a 3D-map at Google Maps by clicking on the 3D-button down to the right at the Google-map.


Os, Edvard: Selje og Vågsøy. Bygdene og bygdesamfunnet. Band 1. Oslo 1957. Aaland, Jacob: Nordfjord frå gamle dagar til no. Oslo 1957.