Mapping Patterns of Resources in North America

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  • 0:01 Natural Resources
  • 0:37 Soil
  • 1:46 Forestry & Mining
  • 2:26 Oil & Gas
  • 2:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson explains the natural resource patterns in North America. It discusses soil in places like the tropical zones as well as forestry, coal, oil, and natural gas.

Natural Resources

When it comes to natural resources, North America won the lottery. Today, we'll take a look at these natural resources and how they've shaped the continent.

For starters, North America is made up of Canada, the United States, Mexico, the countries of Central America, and many bordering islands. When speaking of land area, North America is the 3rd largest continent.

Natural resources are materials that occur in nature and can be used for economic gain. Today, we'll highlight the soil, forests, and mining of North America.


Let's kick things off with soil. North America has some of the most nutrient-rich soil in all the world. Add this to the varied climates of the continent and it's a recipe for great farming. For instance, the tropical zones, which are areas near the Equator, have soils that produce things like oranges, coffee, bananas, and sugar cane. In fact, Central America produces a large amount of the world's tropical fruits.

Differing greatly from the tropics, the moderate climates and rich soils of places like the Northeastern US produce robust fruits. Not only the Northeast, the Northwestern US and British Columbia, Canada, provide crunchy apples and juicy peaches.

The North American soil of the Corn Belt also supplies lots of corn. Stated simply, the Corn Belt is a region in the Midwestern US, especially Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, excellent for raising corn. Along with corn, the rich soil of North American also supplies wheat. From the plains of the US to the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, wheat sprouts from the nutrient-rich soils of North America.

Forestry & Mining

The rich soils of North America have created another resource, forests. This makes forestry, which is the managing and cultivation of trees, a major industry in North America. For example, the Pacific Northwest supplies woods like spruce, fir, and cedar to the world. From these woods, we get things as varied as furniture to paper.

Moving away from soil and forestry, North America makes billions of dollars in the mining industry. Running along the Northeastern United States, coal is mined in places like West Virginia and Pennsylvania. While the Northeast is rich in coal, the western parts of the continent are famous for gold and silver.

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