Land and Resources, Natural Resources
France is richly endowed with agricultural resources. The fertile soils of its basins and plains have supported a robust farming culture since antiquity. Today, France is the largest exporter of agricultural goods in the European Union (EU). The French landscape, most of which receives abundant precipitation, also supports a thriving timber industry. Today, about one-quarter of France is forested, and commercial tree farms constitute a significant share of this total.
France is not exceptionally rich in natural mineral resources. The coal deposits of northern France and the iron ore deposits in the east were important to the nation’s early industrialization. However, France’s coal deposits have largely been depleted, and the low quality of French iron ore has lead to a sharp decline in domestic production. Deposits of petroleum and natural gas are small and largely tapped. Today, France imports iron ore along with most other minerals important in industrial production. However, France remains a significant producer of uranium, a fuel used in nuclear reactors, and bauxite, from which aluminum is made.
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