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
Water and Climate
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.
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.
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 64ºF and in Miami of 73ºF. The average July temperature is 91ºF
in Jacksonville and 87ºF 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
State Parks and Recreation Areas