Title

The new economy and the forest: rural development in the post-industrial spaces of the rural Alleghenies

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Che, D 2003, 'The new economy and the forest: rural development in the post-industrial spaces of the rural Alleghenies', Social Science Quarterly, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 963-978.

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Objective. Government policy has long linked resource production with economic development in surrounding rural communities. The purpose of this article is to examine how the USDA Forest Service's (USFS) resource-based, rural development policies have shifted due to economic restructuring and environmental challenges to the "management" of nature. Methods. Historical data was gathered on USFS timber harvests and policies toward forest-dependent communities. Data was also gathered through interviews and participant-observation on a USFS-supported, locally planned ecotourism project. Results. USFS rural development policies have shifted from predominantly providing federally determined, sustained timber harvests in the industrial era to increasingly emphasizing local, amenity-based entrepreneurship and economic diversification in the post-industrial era. Conclusions. USFS rural development policies and resource production have been de-coupled. However, amenity-based development may depend both on amenity migrants and sustained commitment from external sources to support local initiative, given limited entrepreneurship in rural areas long dependent on high-wage extraction and manufacturing.