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Land and Resources, Natural Resources

Greece is relatively poor in natural resources. Bauxite, from which aluminum is produced, is the most significant mineral resource, and there are also deposits of asbestos, nickel, magnesite, and marble. The country has little black coal, and its lignite (brown coal) is of poor quality. The reserves of other commercially important minerals, such as chromium, copper, uranium, and magnesium, are relatively small. Greece’s small petroleum deposits, located under the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos, are rapidly being depleted. There are no significant reserves of natural gas.

Greece’s forests, probably abundant in ancient times, have been significantly depleted. Subsequent soil erosion has made reforestation efforts difficult. Although much of Greece’s soil is rocky and dry, the country’s mountains are interspersed with small valleys where the soils are of the rich Mediterranean terra rosa (red earth) variety. Cultivated fields and orchards cover 30 percent of the country. The fertile plains of Thessaly, Macedonia, and western Thrace are prime agricultural areas.

 

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