Louisiana is divided into five natural regions based on differences in relief, soil and vegetation: Mississippi Floodplain, Terraces, Marsh, Red River Valley, and the Hills. Elevation in the state ranges from 4 feet below sea level in New Orleans to 535 feet above sea level. Soybeans, rice and sugar cane are among the state’s top agriculture commodities.
Top Agriculture Products
2. Cane for Sugar
5. Cattle and calves
Because of its location, Louisiana has the world's busiest port system and is one of the most important trading states. The state is linked with the center of the country as well as places across the sea by its water route. The Mississippi River has made Baton Rouge, the state's capital, an important inland port. Most of the country's petroleum and grain is shipped from New Orleans, the state's largest city. In fact, New Orleans handles more tonnage than any other United States port.
The Mississippi River has played an important role in Louisiana's economic success for other reasons. The water along the state's coast produces a quarter of all the fish caught in the United States; only Alaska has larger fisheries. Louisiana leads the nation in the production of crayfish and shrimp.
Louisiana produces many things. It's a leading producer of forest products, furs, and minerals including oil, natural gas, sulfur, and salt. In fact, the state is the leading producer of natural gas in the country and a large part of its economy is dependent upon its mineral resources. Louisiana has more than 90 chemical plants that manufacture one-fourth of the country's petrochemicals and 12 major refineries that have produced 10 billion gallons of gas.
Number of Farms- 30,000
Land in Farms- 8.1 million acres
Average Farm Size- 269 acres
Louisiana's natural resources include varied ecosystems and environments, from oak forest to cypress swamp. Extremely fertile soil and a long growing season are conducive to agriculture. Extensive coastlines, along the Gulf of Mexico and the state's many rivers, contribute to extensive wetland areas. As for non-biotic resources, the state also has sizable reserves of oil, natural gas, salt and sulphur.
Coastal Wetlands- With 15,000 miles of coastline, Louisiana has extensive coastal wetlands. The coastal basin is divided into nine regions, each with slightly different environments and ecosystems. For example, the Teche/Vermilion Basin in south-central Louisiana primarily has fresh and brackish waters, with very few salt marshes. In the southwestern corner of the state, the Calcasieu/Sabine Basin has a balanced mixture of fresh, brackish and salt marshes. The region's wetlands are estimated to be 3,500 years old.
Forests- Nearly half of Louisiana is forested, from the pine forests in the north and the southwest to the oak in the northeast, to the cypress found throughout the southern swamps. Fifty-eight parishes have lumber industries. Pine accounts for more than 90 percent of the state's lumber industry, much of it used for paper making. Kisatchie National Forest is the only national forest in the state. It extends over 600,000 acres and seven parishes.
Natural Gas and Oil- Louisiana provides natural gas to much of the country via the 50,000 miles of pipelines that lace the state along highways, railroads and navigable waterways. Most of the pipelines are in the 19 coastal parishes, where the majority of natural gas and oil is produced. Louisiana also has around 10 percent of all known oil reserves in the United States. The Tuscaloosa Trend in southern Louisiana is one of the prime sources for oil in the state, with others located offshore, beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana's non-renewable resources also include mineral reserves, chiefly salt and sulfur. The state is the biggest producer of salt in the country, with underground salt domes spread throughout the state, especially along the coast. In addition to table salt, the state exports much salt for plastic and PVC production as well as other industrial uses.
Sulfur- Sulfur was first discovered in Louisiana in the late 19th century, at which time it proved extremely useful for making gunpowder and matches as well as applications in medicine. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Louisiana's sulfur deposits proved to be of less economic interest, with the opportunity to import sulfur from other nations less expensive.