COFI—the Council of Forest Industries—recently circulated a one-page informational circular (see link below) that stated, in the first paragraph: “BC is recognized globally for its expansive forests, natural beauty and biodiversity. Today, more than 52 % of BC’s land base—totaling [sic] 14.5 million hectares, more than 4.5 times the size of Vancouver Island—is protected or under some form of conservation measure.”
The extent to which COFI’s claim is wrong is surprising. Geographers have determined that BC’s land base is 94,473,500 hectares, and 52 percent of that would be 47,236,750 hectares, not 14.5 million hectares.
COFI is correct in stating that 14.5 million hectares of BC’s land base is in some form of legally protected status. That amounts to 15.3 percent of BC’s land base.
But since COFI is really only interested in the forested land base, you might wonder why they are not focussing on how much of BC’s forested land base is protected. That might be because the number is a lot smaller: 6.53 million hectares. By comparison, about 22 million hectares of forested land base—over 3 times the area that’s protected—is available to logging.
For its own survival, COFI needs to create a cloud of misinformation that obscures why such a small number of people employed by the forest industry are permitted to destroy so much forest for so little social benefit. It is, of course, to keep the opposition to the industry focused on the number of trees and the area protected so that no one talks about who is making the billions the industry claims it creates. When we understand that, we can understand why COFI consistently produces such wrong-headed misinformation.