Two more lots of forestry

Two more forests the size of Belgium have made the news this week.

Firstly UNESCO has recommended a tract of Canadian forest as a World Heritage site.  It was reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper.

The Pimachiowin Aki, 33,400 square kilometres of mostly untouched wilderness (about the size of Belgium), is home to one of the largest herds of woodland caribou south of Hudson Bay as well as many other species of animals, birds, insects and fish.

And the largest private forest owner in Europe (a company called SCA) uses an area the size of Belgium to make personal hygiene products. This was reported by CNBC.

One of the additional gems for SCA is that it owns 2.6 million hectares of forest land, equivalent to the size of Belgium, making it the largest “private forest owner in Europe.

A lot of forestry

There has been a burst of forest-related references to Belgium recently.

The Vancouver sun reports on the historic forest fire of 1919.

“In 1919, the biggest forest fire in recorded Canadian history swept through Alberta’s boreal forest just south of where Fort McMurray now suffers. That fire burned through 30,000-square-kilometres of timber and razed Lac La Biche, the town now providing safe haven for evacuees from the north.

The fire began near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. It blackened an area the size of Belgium.”


The New Zealand Listener reports on how much forest would be needed to evaporate a lot of milk.

“Robert Spurway, Fonterra’s managing director global operations, says the company wants to “transition away from coal” and is trialling renewables such as miscanthus – a tall grass with high biomass properties – geothermal, wind, solar, biogas and wood biomass. But he says there are “no viable alternatives” to coal in the South Island at present. The sheer volume of energy needed to dry milk into powder is such that shifting from coal to wood in its South Island plants would require “an area the size of Belgium” – about three million hectares – to be planted in trees, he claims.”


Finally the Earth Touch News Network seems out of touch with the true size of Minkébé National Park, even though they included a link to the Wikipedia article about it in their report.

“Minkébé National Park in northern Gabon has been of particular focus in recent years. An area the size of Belgium, it was once home to tens of thousands of forest elephants, and still contains a large proportion of Gabon’s total population.”

In fact it is only one quarter the size of Belgium. The publication has repeated the error in a 2015 BBC article (mentioned on the Bloopers page of this blog). There is however an interesting video of an elephant charging the camera in the article.