SNAPP TEAM:Appalachian Coalfields
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, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. This region remains among the most impoverished in the United States, making local concern about the economic impact of phasing out coal as an energy source 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 community economic development practitioners 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 by offering grants that support performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, child well-being, and preserving the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

Team Status: COMPLETED
Team Critical Challenges: Climate Resilience, Social Innovations
Key Products
Transitioning the Appalachian Economy

Learn how Leslie Ferguson-Oles is helping build diverse, sustainable economies for people and nature in Appalachia.

Conservancy charts a solar showcase on the coalfields of Central Appalachia

The plan to generate up to 75 megawatts of solar power across hundreds of acres of deforested minelands in VA & TN may be “a breakout moment for the region.”

SWVA Grant Competition for Eco Friendly Econ Dev Proposals

An exciting new grant program from TNC to the University of Virginia at Wise will benefit from newly funded broadband connectivity.

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Mark Anderson
The Nature Conservancy
Judy Dunscomb
The Nature Conservancy
Randall W. Jackson
West Virginia University
Danna Baxley
The Nature Conservancy
Josh Bills
Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)
Brandon Dennison
Coalfield Development Corporation
Leslie Ferguson-Oles
Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED)
Brad Kreps
The Nature Conservancy
Campbell Moore
The Nature Conservancy
William Norman
Clemson University
Thomas Ochuodho
University of Kentucky
Sally Palmer
The Nature Conservancy
Michael P. Strager
West Virginia University
Beth Wheatley
The Nature Conservancy
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