Ecuador - Forestry

One of Ecuador's vast untapped resources is its forestland. Forests, half of which are government owned, cover 10,557,000 hectares (26,086,000 acres), or 38.1% of the total mainland area. During 1990–2000, the annual average rate of deforestation was1.2%. The tropical forests contain more than 2,240 known species of trees. Some of the denuded highlands have been planted with eucalyptus trees, which prevent soil erosion and provide both fuel and rough lumber. Total roundwood production in 2000 was 10.8 million cu m (383 million cu ft). About 50% of the wood cut was burned as fuel.

Ecuador is the world's largest producer and exporter of balsa. Several varieties of hardwoods, including species of mahogany, are used in cabinetmaking. Other forest products having some importance are the fiber for Panama hats (toquilla palm), vegetable ivory (tagua palm), kapok (ceiba tree), quinine (cinchona bark), and rubber.

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