Pernambuco is chiefly agricultural, the lowlands being devoted to sugar and fruit, with coffee in some of the more elevated localities, the agreste region to cotton, tobacco, Indian corn, beans and stock, and the sertao to grazing and in some localities to cotton.
The plateau "lowlands" in the centre of the Basin are approximately 5000 ft.
The lowlands and the lower mountains, especially southward, are generally treeless.
On the Coastal Plain the soil is generally sandy, but in nearly all parts of this region more or less marl abounds; south of the Neuse river the soil is mostly a loose sand, north of it there is more loam on the uplands, and in the lowlands the soil is usually compact with clay, silt or peat; toward the western border of the region the sand becomes coarser and some gravel is mixed with it.
In the lowlands of the western portion, the Chinese have introduced a large number of cultivated plants and fruit trees.