Florida Online
Social Studies Glencoe Online
Social Studies Home Product Info Site Map Search Contact Us

 Florida's Natural Resources

Florida's climate and water resources contribute favorably to the state's overall economy and are important ingredients in the economic outlook for the Sunshine State.

Water and Climate

Fresh Groundwater and Fresh Surface Water

Florida's water resources and climate contribute a great deal to the state's overall economic progress. Florida has almost 6,000 square miles of water. These water resources include 1,308 square miles of coastal waters and 4,682 square miles of inland waters.

Florida's water resources support a strong fishing industry. There are more than 400 fish processing and wholesaling plants in the state, employing almost 5,000 people annually. More than 117 million pounds of fish and other seafood are caught each year by Florida fishers, producing a total catch worth more than $207 million.

A large portion of the total value in the fishing industry comes from the harvest of lobsters, shrimp, clams, and grouper. Other important commercial fish are mackerel and tuna. Freshwater fishing is also very important in the state, and a large portion of the state's catfish come from Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River.

The state is divided into five water management areas. Each division has responsibility over the lakes, rivers, and other water resources within its jurisdiction. The three major uses of the water supply in each division are general public use (water for the home), commercial/industrial use, and agricultural irrigation.

Florida has a subtropical climate with generally warm temperatures and sufficient precipitation all year. Average January temperatures vary throughout the state with an average in Jacksonville of 64F and in Miami of 73F. The average July temperature is 91F in Jacksonville and 87F in Miami.


Minerals and Forests
Florida has a rich variety of mineral and forest resources. The two leading mineral products of the state are phosphates and petroleum.

Nonfuel mineral production in Florida totaled more than $1.5 billion per year in the late 1990s. Phosphates are minerals that can be ground up and used as fertilizer. Much of the phosphate mining in Florida is around Tampa and in Hamilton County. Petroleum and natural gas production ranks second behind phosphate mining in the state.

Florida's forests provide a variety of softwood and hardwood trees. More than 14 million acres are classified as commercial forestland. The estimated growth of trees on this land is over 15 billion cubic feet of wood. About half of the commercial forestland is owned by private companies. The Division of Forestry operates 35 state forests covering more than 650,000 acres.

One of the major goals of both private owners and the government is to renew Florida's forest growth on an ongoing basis. More than 125 million seedlings are planted in Florida every year.


Florida's State Parks
Florida's state park system has expanded to one of the largest and most heavily used systems in the country. Containing over 600,000 acres in more than 157 separate units, the state park system today represents a major commitment by the State of Florida to the preservation of its scenic resources and provision of outstanding recreation opportunities for its people.
State Parks and Recreation Areas

 


McGraw-Hill/Glencoe
Back