Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Austria?

Austria has a wealth of mineral resources.

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Austria is a country in Central Europe. Austria is considered to be one of the wealthiest nations in the world since in 2017 its nominal gross domestic product was estimated to be $416.6 billion which at the time was the 27th highest in the world. In the same year, Austria's per capita gross domestic product was approximately $47,291 which was the 15th highest at the time. Austria's economic prosperity can be attributed to some factors primarily the utilization of its natural resources which include arable land, the beautiful scenery, and minerals.

Arable Land

Information published in the Trading Economics website indicated that in 2015, arable land constituted 16.31% of Austria's total land area. In previous years, the amount of arable land in Austria was significantly higher, and it was at its highest in 2005 when it constituted 16.72% of Austria's total area. Several of the crops grown in Austria include wheat, rye, and fruits. According to several agricultural experts, the most productive farmlands in Austria are situated on the eastern edge of the country. The region's agricultural significance is because the terrain in the area is relatively flat. Before the Second World War, agriculture was a significant component of the Austrian economy, but after the war, the importance of the sector declined. In 1999, according to data from the Austrian labor ministry, around 5.3% of Austria's entire labor force worked in the agricultural sector. Despite the decline in agriculture's contribution to the Austrian economy, members of the sector still have significant influence in the country. The influence is because the farmers produce enough milk products and cereals to satisfy the country's demands. The Austrian government has put in place some measures to stem the decline of the country's agrarian sector such as giving subsidies to farmers and placing restrictions on imported crops.

Sugar Beets

Sugar beets are some of the most important crops in Austria. Estimates from the Austrian government indicate that in 2016, more than 3.5 million tons of sugar beets were produced in the country. The production of sugar beets in Austria fluctuated significantly during the 20th century but stabilized in the 21st century. Austrian sugar beets are primarily used in the production of sugar. According to estimates from the Austrian labor ministry, there are close to 6,500 sugar beet farmers in Austria. Approximately 174 square miles of Austrian land is dedicated to the growing of sugar beets.

Cereals

Austrian farmers also produce vast quantities of cereal crops. Data from the Austrian government indicated that in 2016, Austrian cereal farmers produced roughly 5.7 million tons of cereals. The production in 2016 increased significantly from the production in 2015 which was approximately 4.85 million tons. Like much of Austria's agricultural sector, cereal production in the country has fluctuated significantly. Experts believe that variations in the global climate cause the fluctuations.

Forests

Data from the Austrian government indicated that in 2016 forests covered more than 46.85% of the country's total area. The data also indicates that Austria's forest cover had increased gradually from 2004 when it was approximately 46.6%. The vast area covered by forests in Austria is often attributed to centuries of cultivation and care by the Austrian people. The Austrian government has instituted forest management systems that take into consideration some factors particularly the forests' natural growth cycle. A study of the trees in Austria indicated that the most common tree variety is the conifer. Estimates indicate that close to 50,000 people were employed in Austria's forestry sector.

Fish

Even though Austria is a landlocked nation, it has significant fish resources in its rivers and lakes. One of the main fishing areas in Austria is the River Gail which is home to a variety of trout species such as the rainbow trout and the brown trout. The river is particularly popular with recreational fishers. Other rivers in Austria where fishing is common include the Steyr River, Salza River, and the Walster River. Fishing is also quite common in the Ötzlsee Lake and the most common variety of fish in the lake is the alpine salmon.

Minerals

According to geological research, one of Austria's most important natural resources is the minerals located in the country. Some of the essential minerals in Austria include magnesite, iron ore, and lignite. Geological data indicate that there are mineral deposits throughout Austria's territory with the large deposits being found in the northeastern section of the country particularly in the Styria region. Despite the vast presence of minerals in the country, they only contributed approximately 2% of the country's gross domestic product in 1990. The importance of the mining industry to Austria's economy has been declining steadily since the Second World War. Despite its declining importance, it employs close to 7,000 people. Estimates indicate that there are more than 100 mining companies in Austria. In 2013, the value of Austria's mineral production, according to the mineral yearbook was approximately $32.2 billion which represented roughly 7.5% of the Austrian gross domestic product. Austria's mineral production has decreased significantly from the levels in 2012 when the country's mineral production was valued at $33.2 billion. In 2012, mineral production was roughly 8.1% of Austria's gross domestic product. The government of Austria has put in place some measures to encourage the growth of the country's mineral sector.

Wind

Due to its location, the wind is one of Austria's most important natural resources. Wind is significant in Austria since it is used to generate electricity that is supplied to the Austrian people. The country is considered one of the major producers of wind power, and in 2008 the nation was ranked the 17th largest wind power producer in the world.

Beautiful Scenery 

Austria has been blessed with several exceptionally breathtaking sites that draw in visitors from all over the world. Austria is one of the premier tourist destinations as estimates indicated that in 2007 the tourism industry contributed $18.9 billion to the economy. Some of the premier tourist spots in Austria include the capital city and ski resorts in the Alps.

Economic Growth in Austria

The Austrian government has put in place some measures to stimulate the growth of the country's economy. Several of the measures have paid off significantly as the country's economy has grown tremendously.

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