Despite being a small country, Guatemala has a great diversity of ecosystems. In fact, if we talk about ranking, it is in the first place of Central American countries in terms of diversity of ecoregions, with a total of 14 ecoregions. Incredible!. This considerable variety of environments give rise to a great variety of natural resources, that is, resources that come from nature and that have some type of utility for humans.
From what is mentioned in the previous paragraph, from Ecologist Verde we want to delve into the natural resources of Guatemala, not from an extractivist approach, but rather with the objective of knowing what are the natural resources of this wonderful country and what is its current state of conservation in order to protect them in the future.
If you wonder what is the Guatemala's most important natural resource, possibly the ground. The variety of fertile soils that exist in Guatemala allows the cultivation of many plant species that sustain the diet of the Guatemalan people. Mainly corn, sugar cane, rice, tomatoes, potatoes, citrus fruits, bananas, coffee, cocoa and more are grown there. However, it is worth mentioning that the Guatemalan soil suffers a certain degree of deterioration and is mainly due to the use of forest land for agricultural activities.
We recommend you read these other posts about The importance of soils and What is soil degradation.
Another of the main resources of Guatemala is the water resource. This country has a great water wealth It includes approximately 23 lakes, 119 lagoons and numerous rivers that are divided into two slopes: the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the great wealth of this resource, drinking water is not enough to supply the entire growing Guatemalan population, since the contamination of rivers affects the availability of drinking water and, in addition, the lack of infrastructure also hinders access to water. drinking water.
Forests are undoubtedly one of the natural riches of Guatemala. The Guatemalan native forests They cover a large area of the country and consist primarily of broadleaf, coniferous and mangrove species.
They provide very important ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration from the atmosphere, reduction of soil erosion, regulation of extreme events such as floods. In addition to timber products, they also provide medicinal and food species. However, if we ask ourselves what are the most exploited natural resources in Guatemala, surely it is the forest resource. Forests suffer extremely high rates of deforestation and are also exposed to intentional fires. Here you can read about the Consequences of deforestation.
Inside the huge coastal marine resource, we can mention the fishing resource. In particular, Guatemalan aquaculture occurs in the south of the country, where the most sought-after species are mostly shrimp, prawns and squid. To a lesser extent, some species of freshwater fish and shrimp are also exploited.
Guatemala is estimated to have geological conditions conducive to the development of an economically significant mining industry. Despite this, this industry is not very exploited. Mining activity in this country takes place mainly in non-metallic minerals, including: plaster, sand, clay, marble, limestone, gravel and more. Likewise, there are industries that base their activities on metallic minerals like nickel, gold, silver and copper.
We recommend you read this other article about Mineral Resources: what they are, classification, examples and importance.
Within the non-renewable resources of Guatemala we can mention the oil resource. In itself, Guatemala has three oil reserves: Reserva Petén Norte, Reserva Petén Sur and Reserva del Pacífico, located respectively in the north, center and south of the country. It is estimated that the oil extracted from these areas is of good quality, however, we must not overlook the severe environmental impact caused by the exploitation of this resource.
We advise you to read these other posts on How oil is formed and Environmental impact of oil and natural gas.
In contrast to the previous section, renewable energies are precisely one of the renewable resources of Guatemala. Among the different forms of renewable energy we can mention: hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind energy and more. Within these forms of energy, hydroelectric power is the most frequent due to the richness of rivers that the country has. It is interesting to note that, unlike the other natural resources mentioned, the exploitation of renewable energies has minimal impacts on the environment and contributes to the sustainable development of the country.
Here you can read more about this: What is hydraulic power and examples.
Guatemala is the habitat of a wide diversity of flora and fauna. In fact, it is considered one of the regions of the planet with the richest biodiversity. In total, Guatemala is home to more than 9,000 species of vertebrate plants and animals, with a high degree of endemism: 13% of fauna species are endemic, while 15% of flora species are endemic. As if that weren't enough, this country has 33 species of lung salamanders, being the only country that is home to this surprising diversity of salamanders. Below we will list examples of flora and fauna.
Here you can learn more about the Flora and fauna of Guatemala and also +15 animals in danger of extinction in Guatemala.
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