Economy, Forestry and Fishing
Tropical hardwoods, logwood, Sinaloa, Michoacan, Oaxaca
Mexico has significant forest resources, despite the fact that much of the nationís land is semiarid and many of the forests that existed prior to the arrival of Europeans have been lost to logging and erosion. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of what is now Mexico was covered by forests in the early 1500s; by 2000 forests covered only 29 percent of the country. Almost all logging has been placed under strict government supervision, but this has failed to halt deforestation. Between 1970 and 1985 Mexico lost about one-sixth of its woodlands. The most commercially valuable woods are pine, spruce, cedar, mahogany, logwood, and rosewood. Other important forest products include pitch, resins, and charcoal. Mexico does not produce enough wood pulp to meet its demand for paper products and the country imports much of its paper and cardboard. Mexicoís pine and oak forests are found largely in the nationís mountainous central and northern regions. Tropical hardwoods such as mahogany are found in the tropical rain forests of southern Mexico. The countryís most important timber resources are located in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Michoacan, Oaxaca, and Jalisco.
Fishing has increased in importance, symbolized by the fact that Mexico now devotes a cabinet-level agency to its development and protection. The most valuable fishery resources are found in the Gulf of Mexico, especially the states of Campeche and Veracruz; the Gulf of California, bordering the states of Sonora and Sinaloa; and the Pacific Ocean, notably off the coast of Baja California. The most important seafood export is tuna, and shrimp is increasingly valuable to the domestic market.
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