What are the natural resources of Yucatan? - science - 2023



The Yucatan natural resources They are very diverse, although the most exploited for more than 150 years has been the henequera industry. This consists of an agro-industrial activity dedicated to the production and textile manufacture of manufactured products such as ropes, rugs and sacks made from fibers extracted from henequen, a plant of the genus Agave cultivated in the state for said exploitation purposes.

The Mayans called the plant Ki. It was during the nineteenth century that it was colloquially known as "green gold" after the origin of this economic activity, which was mostly carried out through the exploitation of Mayan labor used for the extraction of fiber from the plant.

In this way, the manufacture of products necessary for agricultural activity (such as for the packaging of hay and straw) as well as maritime (for the mooring of boats) was allowed.

For many decades, this activity allowed the state to have a self-sustaining economy (which is why the plant is on its shield), since the large export of products from the peninsula allowed it to finance the growth of the region thanks to the foreign exchange earnings obtained for the use of this crop.

However, the industry would have a gradual decline particularly in the eighties with the creation of synthetic fibers that would displace the demand for manufactured henequen products.

This led to a diversification of an economy focused on other forms of production, mainly in the primary agricultural sector, which currently comprises approximately sixty percent (60%) of all economic activity in the State.

Yucatan main natural resources

1- Large poultry and pig production

In recent years, the primary sector has been exemplary in the production of turkey and pig meat, as well as poultry production in the section of chicken and egg meat.

On the other hand, the production of cattle, mostly concentrated between the eastern and southern zones of the state, with the Timizín state standing out, presented a degree of loss of 20% in 2006 despite being in areas classified as the most important for the development of this activity.

2- Honey

Within all these economic activities developed within the State, it is the production of honey since 2009 that has occupied the first place in relation to the production and export of beekeeping within the entire national territory.

3- Fishing and ports

While fishing has also been important, mainly in the capture of octopus and sea cucumber within the municipalities of Progreso, Celestún and Dzilam de Bravo.

The port of Progreso, which is located to the north only 36 kilometers from the city of Mérida, is the main tourist and commercial exchange link between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea with a navigation channel of 12 meters and the capacity for serve mega cruise ships and tourist ferries.

Another of the most important ports is Celestún due to its great tourist attraction. It is a world heritage site with a special reserve in the biosphere with a great diversity of fauna.

You can find aquatic birds such as Canadian ducks (in migratory season), pelicans, herons and albatrosses, but the most attractive ones are the pink flamingos which, thanks to the high concentration of carotene, are the pinkest in the world.

4- Salt

This area has always been dedicated to salt exploitation. To the east, you can find the Real Salinas ranch that was formerly a large salt extraction emporium, one of the most important in the country.

On the other hand, the fishing of specimens such as grouper, dogfish, corvina and pámpano is also remarkable.

5- Mayan legacy

Another area of ​​great tourist attraction is the Balankché grotto located 6 km from Chizen Itzá, being a site of great historical and archaeological importance, it used to be one of the main Mayan ceremonial centers.

For this reason, many authentic pieces of the Mayan population can be found, from ceramic pieces, such as plates to ceremonial jewels, making this place one of the most important underground groups in the entire region.

6- Medicinal plants

Regarding the use of the flora of the place, scientific studies have classified a total of 134 species of plants of which 122 are native while the other 20 have been cultivated for their different types of use.

The vast majority are used for medicinal uses (many of which have been practiced since the Mayan civilization), followed by melliferous construction, of edible use for livestock and as fuels from which both rural and urban populations benefit.

7- Timber trees

Among the species that make up all the fauna of Yucatan we can highlight trees such as mahogany, cedar and ceiba, whose wood is used for the vast majority of carpentry works as well as construction.

The ceiba is particularly important for making canoes and rafts, while the oil from its seeds is particularly useful for making soaps.

It is estimated that in recent decades, after the decline of the henequen industry, there has been an accelerated growth of these agricultural systems that have been replacing a large part of the Mexican tropics as well as the use that is given to soils, having a significant impact on the ecosystem.

A little planned growth has been contemplated that has endangered various specimens of both flora and fauna that, already before, were in danger of extinction.

8- Very diverse fauna but in a vulnerable state

Among the fauna, in particular, there are 291 species of mammals registered in the entire State, of which 23% are in special protection, 8% threatened and another 9% in danger of extinction, of which we could highlight cases such as the jaguar, cougar and white-tailed deer.

The fearful on the other hand does not yet have enough data on its population to put it in danger of extinction but its hunting is very common in rural communities

While in categories such as birds are the pijije, the Mexican mallard, the snout and the rattle, while in marine specimens the hawksbill turtle is particularly in danger of extinction, making illegal its trade in eggs that were consumed because they were considered strong aphrodisiacs.


  1. Miguel A. Magaña Magaña / Manuel Rejón Ávila / Víctor C. Pech Martínez / Eduardo R. Valencia Heredia. (2006). Comparative analysis of the economic efficiency of the full-cycle cattle production systems of small producers in the eastern and southern areas of the state of Yucatán, Mexico. Available at: web.archive.org.
  2. Javier Enrique Sosa-Escalante / Silvia Hernández-Betancourt / Juan Manuel Pech-Canché / M. Cristina McSwiney G./Raúl Díaz-Gamboa. (2014). The Mammals of Yucatan. Mexican Journal of Mastozoology. Available at: linkinghub.elsevier.com.
  3. Pedro Zamora Crescencio/ Jose Salvador Flores Guido/Rocio Ruenes Morales. (2009). Useful flora and its management in the southern cone of the state of Yucatan, Mexico. Botanical poly. n.28. Available at: scielo.org.mx.
  4. Ma. Eugenia Vega-Cendejas. (2004). Ictofauna of the Celestún Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán: a contribution to the knowledge of its biodiversity. National Autonomous University of Mexico. Zoology n. 25. Available at: journals.unam.mx.
  5. Yucatanense Encyclopedia. Second edition. Official edition of the Government of Yucatán
    Mexico City, D.F., 1977
  6. Data from: Ministry of Urban Development and Environment. Secretariat of Urban Development and Environment Secretariat of Tourism Development. Board of Trustees of the Units of Cultural and Tourist Services of the State of Yucatán. Government of the State of Yucatán. Available at: yucatan.gob.mx.