Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Belize?

Arable land is one of the most important natural resources of Belize.

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Belize is a sovereign nation in Central America. It is a tiny country that occupies an area of only 8,800 square miles. It borders Mexico on the Northwestern side and Guatemala on the Western and Southern border. Belize borders the Caribbean Sea on the eastern side with a coastline that is 240 miles long. The northern region of Belize mainly consists of flat plains which are covered in indigenous forests. The vegetation in the area is quite diverse. The southern region mainly has mountain ranges such as the Maya mountains. Belize is endowed with natural resources like natural forests, fertile land, maritime territory, beautiful beaches, limestone, sand, clay, gravel, and Bagasse.

Natural Forests

One of Belize’s natural resources is its indigenous forests. The country has vast indigenous forests mostly found on the northern part of Belize. The forests provide a natural habitat for a wide variety of animals such as birds, reptiles, mammals, and insects. Due to the vast forest resources, Belize has a big forestry industry that fully depends on the natural resource. Since the creation of the forestry industry, Belize forests have been a major source of income for the government. The forests have highly sought trees such as mahogany, pines, oaks, cedars, rosewood and sapodilla trees. The trees in the rainforests are cut down and supplied to the timber industry where they are used in making furniture, in the construction sector, and in making electric poles. In recent years, Belize has suffered from over logging in its forests. As a result, the government formed an agency to protect the forests from illegal loggers. The Belize Forest Department protects most of the natural forests in the country.

Fertile Land

Belize has plenty of fertile lands. The fertile land is an important natural resource for the big agricultural sector in the country. Belize experiences a sub-tropical climate which is favorable for agriculture. It is estimated that 38% of Belize land is used for farming. The agriculture industry in Belize is comprised of three distinct sectors namely the well-developed traditional farmers, modern commercial producers, and the small subsistent farmers. Some of the crops grown in Belize are sugarcane, citrus fruits, bananas, maize, kidney beans, and vegetables. Since the early 20th century, Belize has been exporting sugar to the United States and Europe. In the 1990’s Belize became a hotspot for growing and shipping narcotics such as marijuana. This earned it a bad reputation for its role in drug trafficking. The nation’s new trend in livestock farming has enabled Belize to be self-reliant in the supply of most animal products. The agriculture industry is important because it employs approximately 20% of Belize nationals. The sector is also a big contributor to the national income through exports to Europe and other American countries.

Fish And Other Marine Life

Belize is situated in a coastal area along the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It has big water resources nearby. The big water bodies support the fishing industry in Belize. Additionally, the big barrier reef in Belize, which is the world’s second-largest barrier reef, provides a habitat and food for diverse marine creatures. The fishing industry in the Central American nation has evolved to become an important sector in the country. Unlike in the past where fishing was an insignificant past time activity, it is now a huge commercial activity. Major fishing companies have contracts to fish in Belize territory. Some of the marine resources got in the country’s water include Shrimps, lobsters, conch, sea turtles, and scale fish. Belize exports most of its seafood products to the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. The fishing sector is one of the main income contributors to Belize’s government.

Beautiful Beaches And The Barrier Reef

Beautiful sandy beaches and the barrier reef are the other natural resources in Belize. These resources boost the big tourism industry, which is the second-largest sector in Belize. The barrier reef is listed as one of the wonders of the world. Belize has an enormous barrier reef within its marine territory. The barrier reef and the country’s magnificent beaches are big tourist attractions. Every year, thousands of tourists arrive in the coastal cities of Belize in cruise ships. The big numbers of visitors who tour the country provide foreign income to the government of Belize. Furthermore, the tourism industry employs close to 25% of Belize residents.

Limestone

Belize has limestone as one of its natural resources. The nation has a variety of limestone reserves in different parts of the country. The limestone deposits in Belize exist in very small quantities. Some limestone is found in the area near Mayan mountain ranges. Extraction of the limestone in Belize began from as early as the 8th century. The limestone was used in construction in some of the old structures in the region. Currently, the limestone deposits have greatly dropped in quantity, and therefore no commercial extraction takes place. However, the limestone pits formed after extraction or erosion provides beautiful scenes for visitors.

Sand And Gravel

Belize also has natural resources like sand and gravel within its territory. The two naturally occurring products are found in limited quantities in the country. The sand is mostly found in areas close to rivers and other water resources. The components are used in the construction sector. In the early days, the sand harvested from the river beds was used in the construction of most buildings in Belize.

Benefits Of Belize’s Natural Resources To The Nation

Belize’s economy is heavily reliant on its natural resources to provide income to the government and employment to its citizens. The country’s biggest industries are tourism and agriculture. The two leading sectors are established on natural resources. Agriculture has been a major income earner for the country even before it attained independence. Nonetheless, the country has encountered several problems due to poor management of its natural wealth. Firstly, Belize has lost most of its precious forests to illegal loggers. The loss of forest cover has resulted in environmental problems for the country. Secondly, Belize fertile land is used to grow banned narcotics. As a result, the country is blacklisted by the United States as a hub for growing and trafficking drugs.

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