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Canada, Land and Resources

Canada’s physical characteristics have very much influenced the course of its development. It is a very large country (only Russia is larger) composed of several distinct regions that are often separated from each other by natural barriers. Canada has an abundance of natural resources, such as forests, minerals, fish, and hydroelectric power. These resources have encouraged Canadians to focus their economic development on the export of raw materials. Conservation of these resources has become a national priority.

Canada is a country of difficult terrain; much of its area is under water or is rocky, marshy, mountainous, or otherwise uninhabitable. Settlement has therefore been concentrated in the areas that are more level and have the better soils. The northern climate, with its long winters, has encouraged the population to settle in the south, where agricultural and living conditions are most favorable. The vast majority of Canadians live within 320 km (200 mi) of the American border.

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