188.8.131.52. Economic Sectors: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
Mediterranean agriculture is dominated by the production of wheat, olives,
grapes, and citrus fruit. In most of these countries, farming plays a more important
role in the national economy than in the northern countries. Throughout much
of western Europe, dairy and meat production are major agricultural activities.
To the east, crops become more important. In the nations of the Balkan peninsula,
crops account for 60% of agricultural production; in Ukraine, wheat production
overshadows all other agriculture. Europe as a whole is particularly noted for
its great output of wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, potatoes, beans, peas, and
sugar beets. Besides dairy and beef cattle, large numbers of pigs, sheep, goats,
and poultry are raised. Most of Europe is self-sufficient in basic farm products.
The boreal forests, which extend from Norway through northern European Russia,
are the main sources of forest products in Europe. Sweden, Norway, Finland,
and Russia all have relatively large forestry industries that produce pulpwood,
wood for construction, and other products. In southern Europe, Spain and Portugal
produce a variety of cork products from the cork oak.
All of the coastal European countries engage in some commercial fishing, but
the industry is especially important in the northern countries-particularly
Norway, Iceland, and Denmark. Spain, Russia, Great Britain, and Poland also
are major fishing nations. The industry currently faces major problems, however,
and is in a state of decline in many countries.
184.108.40.206. Economic Sectors: Mining, Manufacturing, Energy Patterns, and Transportation
International trade is important in Europe. Much of the trade is intracontinental,
especially among members of the European Union, but Europeans also engage in
large-scale trade with nations of other continents. Germany, France, Great Britain,
Italy, and The Netherlands are among the world's greatest trading nations. A
large portion of European intercontinental trade involves the export of manufactured
goods and the import of raw materials.
Coal mining in areas such as the British Midlands, the Ruhr district of Germany,
Ukraine, and the Silesian fields of Poland established industrial patterns that
continue to exist today. Although coal mining is declining in Europe, it remains
important in some countries. Iron ore is produced in large quantities in northern
Sweden, eastern France, and Ukraine. A wide range of other minerals-such as
bauxite, copper, manganese, nickel, and potash-are mined in substantial amounts.
Oil and natural gas are mined in the North Sea and its bordering areas, as well
as in the southern part of European Russia (notably the Volga River basin) and
Manufacturing of a wide variety of goods, ranging from bulk chemicals to high-tech
equipment, is concentrated in England, eastern and southern France, northern
Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, southern Norway, Sweden, European Russia, and Ukraine.
Europe consumes great quantities of energy, though per capita levels of energy
consumption are lower than in North America. The leading energy sources are
coal, lignite, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower. Norway,
Sweden, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Spain all have major hydroelectric
installations, which contribute much of the annual output of electricity. Nuclear
power is important in France, Great Britain, Germany, the former Soviet republics,
Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, and Bulgaria.
Europe has highly developed transportation systems, which are densest in the
central part of the continent; Fennoscandia, the former Soviet Union, and southern
Europe have fewer transport facilities in relation to their land area. Europeans
own large numbers of private cars, and much freight is transported by road.
Rail networks are well maintained in most European countries and are important
carriers of passengers as well as freight. High-speed train networks in France,
Italy, and Germany make use of the most advanced technology. Water transport
also plays a major role in the European economy. Several countries-such as Greece,
Great Britain, Italy, France, Norway, and Russia-maintain large fleets of merchant
ships. Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, is one of the world's busiest seaports.
Much freight is carried on inland waterways; European rivers with substantial
traffic include the Rhine, Elbe, Danube, Volga, and Dniepr. In addition, Europe
has a number of important canals. Almost all European countries maintain national
airlines; several are major worldwide carriers. Most transportation systems
in European countries are government-controlled, although a recent tendency
toward privatization and deregulation has come into effect in many sectors,
including civil aviation.