Europe is the second-smallest continent. However, its strategic position in relation to Asia and Africa, and its rivers and fertile soil, have made Europe a dominant economic, social, and cultural force throughout history.
Climate and Agriculture
Europe enjoys a mild and temperate climate. Unique wind patterns and ocean currents keep Europe warmer than other landmasses at similar latitudes. This mild climate allows Europe to produce a variety of agricultural products.
Europe’s climate falls under two categories: marine west coast and Mediterranean. The marine west coast climate covers much of northwestern Europe except for Scandinavia and the mountainous regions of Eastern Germany, Poland, and Switzerland.
The Mediterranean climate covers the majority of Southern Europe, including Spain, Portugal, southern France, southern Italy, and Greece. Hot, nearly rainless summers and mild, rainy winters characterize this climate. Olives and grapes are two important crops that have thrived in this climate for more than a thousand years. Spain, Italy, and Greece are the top three producers of olives in the world. France, Italy, and Spain are the top three world producers of grapes used for wine.
Forestry and Fishing
Forestry, the management of trees and other vegetation in forests, is an important industry in Europe.
Europe represents roughly 5 percent of global fisheries and aquaculture production. Leading fishing countries are Spain, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and France.
Mining and Drilling
While Europe is home to some of the world’s largest mining companies, it is not a major producer of metals.
Europe has limited deposits of oil and natural gas, which are drilled for energy and fuel. Offshore exploration and drilling are expected to increase. This will be especially important for Europe’s energy future, which relies on imports for at least half of its gas needs. Many European countries are investing in sustainable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, and nuclear energy.
The Built Environment
As a result of its high level of human and economic development, Europe is a complex and mostly urban continent. Urban areas have developed unique economic and cultural significance that reflect both their local geographies and the broader European community.
Europe's rich agricultural and industrial diversity has made the continent a center of commerce and culture for centuries.
Source: Europe: Resources
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