When a Lie Comes to Life

BOGOR, Indonesia (21 September, 2011)_Douglas Sheil and I launched CoFCCloT in August 2011. A Google search for CoFCCloT results in 138,000 hits just now. Not bad for an organization that doesn’t exist.
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Image courtesy of Polyp.org.uk/Paul Fitzgerald.

BOGOR, Indonesia (21 September, 2011)_Douglas Sheil and I launched CoFCCloT in August 2011.  A Google search for CoFCCloT results in 138,000 hits just now.  Not bad for an organization that doesn’t exist.

We invented the Coalition of Financially Challenged Countries with Lots of Trees for a recent satirical paper in Biotropica, in which a CoFCCloT spokeswoman speaks about demands from tropical rainforest countries that Europe, the USA and other wealthy countries should stop pointing their fingers at others and do more themselves to improve the global environment. This included the suggestion to release lions in Greece and gorillas in Spain to help their ailing economies.

CoFCCloT may not actually exist, but, considering its internet life, its message is well received: Conservation isn’t helped by double standards and biased viewpoints.  Once you can laugh at them you can see them and start to address them.

We have had much interesting feedback on our Biotropica paper, including supportive coverage from diverse sources including the liberal media (e.g., in the Guardian), conservation professionals (e.g, Science Daily) and the timber and plantation industries (e.g., the Oil Palm Blog). So we are optimistic that we achieved what we set out to do: establish a new “middle ground” in polarized debates about tropical forest conservation.

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  • Michelle Kovacevic

    A great comment by Ute Bohnsack on the CIFOR facebook page:

    “I read the article a few days ago and I am delighted it has had such impact. Very much tongue in cheek, it raises very important points about subjectivity in attitudes to nature conservation that I have tried to reveal to my own students in the past. I live in Ireland where there is less than 1% of native forest cover left. Afforestation, both state and farm-forestry, is widespread, subsidy-driven (EU), short-sighted, comprised almost entirely of non-native conifers and has destroyed and/or fragmented huge tracts of blanket peatlands and other valuable habitats. If CoFCCloT existed they’d be making very valid points.”

  • It’s also a tag on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23CoFCCloT 😉