THE IMPORTANCE OF PUERTO RICO TO THE UNITED STATES.
Puerto Rico is the most oriental island and also the shortest of the Great Antilles, it is only 160km long and 56 km wide. The officials languages are Spanish and English. Although English is only used frequently in business, industry, investigations professions, both Spanish and English are taught in schools. Puerto Rico was acquired by the United States in 1898 during the Spanish/American War. Although only a terriority of the United States, they elect their own govement officials just as each state has their own representatives and laws. But just as each state has to follow federal laws, so does Puerto Rico. Residents of Puerto Rico do not pay federal taxes and do not vote in nationsl U.S. elections, they are represented in Washington by a Resident Comisioner. ("Puerto Rico" Handbook of the World. Peter Stalker. Oxford University Press, 2000).
Exporting to the United States.
Much of the island is of volcanic origin, mountainous and unsuitable for argriculture. The principal crops are sugar, tobacco, coffee, pineapples and maize, most which is shipped to the United States, well as spices such such as black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coffee and vanilla that come from the rainforest. (World Encyclopedia).
Over 3000 fruits are found in the rainforest, of these only 200 are now in use in the Western World. Puerto Rico also is the largest net energy importer in the Caribbean Basin. .
Importance of Rainforest in Puerto Rico.
The Internation Institute of Tropical Foresty (IITf) is part of the Unites States Department of Argiculture Forest Service and is located in Rio Piedras on the grounds of the University of Puerto Rico. The only tropical forest in the National Forest System is in Puerto Rico--the Caribbean National Forest. This forest is the oldest National Forest and has the greatest bio-diversity among all National Forests.