Much of the sand and gravel that the town of Etne is built on was laid down at the end of the Ice Age and is evidence of melting glaciers and roaring meltwater rivers. The uncompacted material in the big terraces leave their unmistakeable mark on the wide elongated valleys.
There is still life to be found that is just “hanging on a string”. The Etne river has been the most important river for sports- fisherman in Hordaland after salmon fishing in Vosso was temporarily forbidden. As late as 2000, 4 tonnes of salmon and sea trout were taken out of the Etne river, the best fishing for 10 years. In the whole of the county there are only 15-20 rivers that can compete with this haul.
The deep agricultural soils in Fitjar are found especially in the area between Lake Storavatnet and Breivika. The many stonewalls in the area reflect that the earth probably was full of stones and stone blocks. The stones that couldn't be dug out had also a function: they stored heat that helped to grow potatoes.
The majority of Huglo is bare rock. A bit of dwarf pine forest is the only vegetation able to put down roots. Along the west- and east sides, to the contrary, the landscape is unusually green and lush. The reason lies both in the bedrock and in the ice that covered the area 12 000 years ago.
One of the biggest black alder forests in the country is in Hystadmarkjo. Along the well prepared trail through the forest you can experience an exceptional nature with an unusual abundance of exuberant plant species. But what has laid the foundation for this richness?
Plants that grow in and beside water have to be prepared for marked and rapid changes in their living conditions. They must be able to tolerate living under water without drowning, and getting totally dried out without whithering. Many swamp plants are well adapted to these kinds of changes.