SNAPP TEAM:Appalachian Coalfields
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How can economic development, human well-being, and environmental sustainability be balanced in the Central Appalachian Coalfields region?

Thriving mining, forestry, agriculture and chemical industries once supported local economies in the Central Appalachian Coalfields region. This region that covers Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia remains among the most impoverished areas in the United States, and local concern about the economic impact of phasing-out coal as an energy source is far from groundless. However, the region is well-positioned to embrace a vibrant, diverse economy including manufacturing, service industries, renewable energy development, tourism, and a revived forest products industry.


OUR APPROACH: Experts in economic modeling, rural sociology, ecology, forestry, tourism, and policy, are collaborating with local practitioners of community economic development who understand the unique culture, opportunities, and constraints of the Central Appalachian Coalfields.

This team is made possible in part by the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ( The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through the preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

Team Status: ONGOING
Team Critical Challenge:


  • Understand tradeoffs between the region’s economy, environment, and social welfare through various economic development scenarios
  • Engage local decision makers and global experts to create a roadmap that guides: the achievement of substantive social and economic benefits, increased ecological resilience and connectivity, increased carbon stocks, and renewable energy technology deployment in the Appalachian Coalfields region
Judy Dunscomb
The Nature Conservancy
Mark Anderson
The Nature Conservancy
Randall W. Jackson
West Virginia University
Beth Wheatley
The Nature Conservancy
Brad Kreps
The Nature Conservancy
Brandon Dennison
Coalfield Development Corporation
Campbell Moore
The Nature Conservancy
Danna Baxley
The Nature Conservancy
Josh Bills
Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)
Leslie Ferguson-Oles
Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)
Michael P. Strager
West Virginia University
Sally Palmer
The Nature Conservancy
Thomas Ochuodho
University of Kentucky
William Norman
Clemson University
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