SNAPP TEAM:Appalachian Coalfields
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How can regional economic development in the Central Appalachian Coalfields jointly benefit human well-being and environmental sustainability?

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: Natural Climate Solutions


  • Understand tradeoffs between the region’s economy, environment, and social welfare from various economic development scenarios.
  • Engage local decision makers and global experts to create a roadmap to achieve substantive social and economic benefit, build ecological resilience and connectivity, increase carbon stocks, and deploy renewable energy technologies in the Appalachian Coalfields region.
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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