|Geography and Climate
Venezuela is located in Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana. Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of California. Total land boundary is 4,993 km, border countries are Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 km. Climate is tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands. Terrains consist of Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast. Elevation extreme has the lowest point in Caribbean Sea 0 m and highest point in Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m. Natural resources are petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds.
Land use: arable land: 4%, permanent crops: 1%, permanent pastures: 20%, forests and woodland: 34%, other: 41% (1993 est.). Irrigated land: 1,900 sq km (1993 est.). Natural hazards are subject to floods, rockslides, mud slides; periodic droughts.
Environment—current issues: sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast.
Geography—note: on major sea and air routes linking North and South America.
Ref. Anonymous, 1999