As the fourth largest continent in the world, South America’s physical geography, environment, and resources can be considered separately. It has various agricultural products, abundant fresh waters, and vast mineral wealth. It boasts of prosperous ports and fisheries situated on the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific.
It holds an astonishing amount of natural gifts that its economy runs on the export of its natural resources. Here are some of its great industries that play a major role to sustain the ever-changing demands of the modern world.
South America has a vast land area. The continent stretches from a broad equatorial zone in the north to a narrow sub-Arctic zone in the south. Because of this, the continent has four different climates regions such as tropical, temperate, arid, and cold.
These differences in climate contributed a lot to the production of different types of crops in specific regions. For example, cashews and Brazil nuts are cultivated in regions with a tropical climate. Together with fruits such as avocado, pineapple, papaya, and guava which are considered native to the South American land. Also, cash crops like coffee and cacao are exported from South American countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador.
The continent’s temperate climates are home to some industrial crops and livestock. Corn and soybeans are some of the popular crops exported from the Pampa’s, and it’s also center of the continent’s ranching industry, while Brazil and Argentina are known to be great exporters of beef.
Agriculture is a challenge to most countries in South America with an Arid climate. However, heavily irrigated crops, such as rice and cotton, managed to grow in desert oases.
While in Cold climates, crops like potatoes and quinoa and animals like sheep, llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas are bred for their meat and wool, which are used in high-quality textiles exported throughout the world.
Forestry and Fishing
Forestry is a chief economic activity for tropical South America, especially on the Amazon River basin. High-value tree species like mahogany and rosewood are naturally found in its rain forests. These trees produce lumber which is exported to foreign countries to be used on different woodwork projects.
In South America’s Pacific coast, marine fisheries are considered to be the most valuable economic activity. Chile is known to be a global leader in farm-raised trout and salmon, while Ecuador is a popular exporter of shrimp.
Mining and Drilling
One of the most valuable economic engines of South America is its mining industry. It contains about one-fifth of the world’s iron ore reserves, which are utilized in construction and machinery throughout the world. One example is the copper reserves in Peru and Chile. In 2009, about $26.9 billion accounts of copper in 2009 were exports from Chile, which are used by the world in electrical equipment and wirings.
The continent is also known for deposits of oil and natural gas which are drilled for fuel and energy. The extractions of these resources are dominant in Venezuela, with a lot of deposits situated around Lake Maracaibo and the El Tigre region.