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