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Economy, Forestry and Fishing

Brazilian diet, yerba mate, Santa Catarina, acai fruit, Bahia

The forests are an important source of a range of products for domestic use and export, but there are some interesting contrasts in the geography of their production. About two-thirds of the output of timber products comes from natural woodland, and the balance comes from reforested areas. Almost 60 percent of logwood (for furniture and similar purposes) comes from the rain forest, especially from the state of Para, but another 20 percent comes from plantations in the Southeast and South. About 40 percent of timber (for construction, fuel, and other purposes) comes from the Northeast, particularly Bahia, but plantations in the South and Southeast provide about 20 percent of the total. Plantations in the Northeast, South, and Southeast also supply virtually all of the wood for pulp and cellulose.

Timber products such as paper and cellulose account for about 8 percent of export earnings. Other valuable forest products are acai fruit; babacu nut; yerba mate, whose leaves are made into a tealike beverage; and piacava fiber, which is used to make brooms and cords. There is also substantial production of charcoal, particularly for the iron industry. The state of Minas Gerais accounts for 60 percent of natural and plantation charcoal.

Fish provide a modest contribution to the Brazilian diet, supplying below 3 percent of protein intake. Two-thirds of the catch comes from sea fishing and the remaining one-third comes from inland waters. However, there is a marked contrast between the two systems. Commercial companies take in over 60 percent of saltwater fish, whereas private individuals catch most of the fish in the inland region. Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina are the two leading fishing states in terms of tonnage landed.

Article key phrases:

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