Malaysia - NATURAL RESOURCES - Info
Malaysia is well-endowed with natural resources in areas such as agriculture, forestry as well as minerals. In terms of agriculture, Malaysia is the world's primary exporter of natural rubber and palm oil, which together with saw logs and sawn timber, cocoa, pepper, pineapple and tobacco dominate the growth of the sector. Palm oil is also a major foreign exchange earner.
The rapid expansion of the timber industry, particularly after the 1960s, has brought about a serious erosion problem in the country's forest resources. However, in line with the Government's commitment to protect the environment and the ecological system, forestry resources are being managed on a sustainable basis and accordingly the rate of tree felling has been on the downtrend. The Malaysian government provide plans for the enrichment of some 312.30 square kilometres (120.5 sq mi) of land with rattan under natural forest conditions and in rubber plantations as an intercrop.
Rubber, once the mainstay of the Malaysian economy, has been largely replaced by oil palm as Malaysia's leading agricultural export. Tin and petroleum are the two main mineral resources that are of major significance in the Malaysian economy.
Malaysia was once the world's largest producer of tin until the collapse of the tin market in the early 1980s. In the 19th and 20th Century, tin played a predominant role in the Malaysian economy. Petroleum and natural gas which were discovered in oilfields offshore from Sabah, Sarawak and Trengganu have contributed much to the Malaysian economy particularly in those three states. Other minerals of some importance or significance include copper, gold, bauxite, iron-ore and coal together with industrial minerals like clay, kaolin, silica, limestone, barite, phosphates and dimension stones such as granite as well as marble blocks and slabs. Small quantities of gold are produced.
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