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Mexico: Forestry
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Agriculture > Forestry


Some 9 percent of Mexico's territory consists of forest or woodland, 59 percent of which is in the tropics, 15 percent in the subtropical zone, and 26 percent in the temperate and cool zones. Forests cover some 49 million hectares, almost one-third of which are open to logging, mainly in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Michoacán. About 9 percent of forests are on state or federal lands, 19 percent on ejido lands, and 72 percent on municipal or private lands. Although the tropical trees of the southwest rain forests are the most numerous, the coniferous pine forests of the temperate and cool regions are commercially more important, providing pulpwood for processing in Mexico's paper mills. More than 65 percent of Mexico's forests consist of hardwoods, and the rest are softwoods. The major timber stands are mahogany, cedar, primavera (white mahogany), sapote, oak, copa (yaya), and pine.

In 1992 forestry provided 6 percent of total agricultural output but a negligible 1 percent of overall GDP. Lumber production declined by 5 percent in 1990 and by 3 percent in 1991. Lumber companies attributed lower output to more intense foreign competition as a result of trade liberalization. Exports of wood products were valued at US$14 million in 1988.

In the late 1980s, the forestry sector suffered from overexploitation, insufficient investment and planning, and the disappearance of certain species, as well as from forest fires and insect damage. Deforestation resulted in the loss of some 370,000 hectares annually as land was cleared for cultivation and livestock grazing.

Last Updated: June 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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