Yddal is one of the biggest and finest pine forest areas in the county. The rich forest resources provided an important foundation for the settlement of Yddal. Up until about the 1950s, there were three farms here. Where the lumberjacks couldn't get to, the trees grew very big and can be over 300 years old.
Otterstadstølen lies in an idyllic grassy plain surrounded by rich forest, but also with high mountains close by. The mountainsides are steep and typical of this part of the county. The same cannot be said about the forest. This spruce forest has been able to develop freely for hundreds of years. Otherwise in the county, only Voss has spruce forest.
"I am going to prove to you that I am right". That is what the idealist and county doctor Christian Heitmann is supposed to have said in the early 1890s. He sat together with the parish priest, Kullmann, at Heitmann's home in Stord and discussed whether the islands in western Norway could have been forested or not. The priest thought that the area was too barren and weather-beaten for forest to have been able to grow so far out in the sea. But, Heitmann was sure he was right. He challenged the scepticism and set off to work.
You have to travel to Scotland in order to find pine forests similar to those at Bømlo. The nearness to the sea has contributed in different ways to shaping one of the westernmost pine forests in Norway.
On Storsøya Island, English ivy grows nearly everywhere. It creeps along the ground and climbs all the way to the top of the tree trunks. Together with holly, the trees of juniper, yew and an unusual pine forest keep the island green the whole year 'round.