Forestry and Fishing
Pine, hardwood, and other tree cover, once ample, covered only 15 percent of the land by 1989. To offset losses caused by the indiscriminate felling of trees and the prevalence of slashand -burn agriculture, the government outlawed commercial tree cutting in 1967. Since then, there had been some limited development of commercial plantation forestry, but the nation continued to import more than US$30 million in wood products each year. Although not so drastic as in Haiti, deforestation and the erosion that it caused posed serious environmental concerns for the country's watersheds into the 1990s and beyond. Reforestation efforts drew funding from a number of international development agencies during the 1980s.
The fishing industry also was underdeveloped. Undercapitalized, it consisted of only small coastal fishermen with modest nonrefrigerated boats, who barely exploited the 1,600 kilometers of coastline. The government did not place much emphasis on the industry and, therefore, provided little financial or other assistance to fishermen.
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