Mexico - Forestry



About 55.2 million hectares (136.3 million acres) are classified as forestland. Palms are found at elevations up to 500 m (1,600 ft), while mahogany, cedar, primavera, and sapote are found from 500 to 1,000 m (1,600–3,300 ft). Stands of oak, copal, and pine grow from 1,000 to 1,500 m (3,300–4,900 ft), and conifers predominate in higher elevations. Mexico has 72 species of pine, more than any other country; pine accounts for over 80% of annual forestry production. About 90% of Mexico's forestry production comes from temperate forests, which are mainly found in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. Tropical forests account for only 10% of forestry production, and exist in the states of Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco, and Oaxaca.

Mexico's forestry policy is designed to protect and renew these resources, so that forests may fulfill their soil-protection functions and timber reserves may be exploited rationally and productively. Only about 30% of all forests are exploited, mostly in Chihuahua, Durango, and Michoacán. Timber is often located in mountainous regions with rough terrain and few all-season roads. As a result, wood production costs are 35–40% higher than the world average. Moreover, most roundwood comes from ejido (communally owned) forests; this system has greatly inhibited the development of an integrated forest industry. Mexico's ability to supply its own wood products needs are severely restricted by the limited timber available. Roundwood production in 2000 was estimated at 45.7 million cu m (1.6 billion cu ft) by the FAO; forestry imports exceeded exports by $2.46 billion. Over 90% of the hardwood demand is for the manufacture of furniture.

There are also many other useful products found in Mexico's forests other than wood. Annual forestry production also includes an estimated 100,000 tons of resins, fibers, oils, waxes, and gums. The indigenous peoples living in Mexico's rain forests are estimated to utilize up to 1,500 species of tropical plants to manufacture 3,000 different products such as medicines, construction and domestic materials, dyes, and poisons.

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