Authors sometimes choose Belgium as a comparison even when it is the wrong size by a large margin. Is this a genuine miscalculation? Or laziness?
This example from the London Evening Standard mentions the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Peru — which the author claims is “an area the size of Belgium”.
The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is 20,800 sq km. Belgium is another 50% larger at 30,500 sq km. In fact there are more than 20 countries the author could have chosen which are a closer match than Belgium. Israel or Slovenia would be the best comparisons. Perhaps the author intended to type Belize (23,000 sq km) but typed Belgium by mistake.
“water erodes 970 million tonnes of soil every year in the EU. This would mean a one metre-depth loss of soil from an area corresponding to the size of the city of Berlin, or a one centimetre loss from an area twice the size of Belgium. “
So, if 1 centimetre of soil covering 2 x Belgium weighs 970 million tonnes then the weight of Belgium (the top centimetre only!) is 485 million tonnes.
Actually the JRC figures don’t quite add up as they imply that Belgium is 50 times the size of Berlin. Belgium is 30,524 sq km, whereas Berlin is 892 sq km so the ratio is not 50:1 but 34:1. This means that 1 meter of soil over Berlin would in fact cover three times the size of Belgium, not twice the size (assuming 1cm depth of soil).
First, it’s worth reminding ourselves what 5 per cent GDP growth – let’s call it the “worst case” scenario growth rate – would mean for a country of China’s size. According to the IMF, China’s GDP in 2014 was $10.3 trillion. That means 5 per cent growth in 2015 would add around $520bn to its economy. That’s the equivalent of adding a country the size of Belgium to the global economy in a single year.
“Borneo’s deforestation rate has been among the world’s highest for over two decades and 56 per cent of the protected tropical lowland forests – an area roughly the size of Belgium – was lost between 1985 and 2001.”
With great support of national bodies and NGOs, the Ministry of Tourism and Protected Areas of Chubut with Global Penguin Society (GPS) and CENPAT-CONICET, presented the new accolade given province.
For its part, the biologist Pablo Garcia Borboroglu revealed that “this work came when he approached the governor Buzzi the idea of creating a marine reserve in Punta Tombo. Buzzi encouraged us to go further, to us to work for the label Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. ” García Borboroglu charted that “this protected area, of 3,1 million hectares, has the size of the province of Missions, or of Belgium“.