What's Rural System?

Rural System is a proposed corporation, a conglomerate of up to 90 natural-resource related enterprises. Some of the enterprises, subsystems, are new and only loosely resource related, some very old. It is a system doing modern, sophisticated, computer-aided management of the lands and waters, first of an eastern US region, in order to sustain long-term profits and quality of life for citizens. Concentrating on superior resource management of absentee-owner lands, it includes outdoor recreation, specialized tourism and rural development, forest and wildlife management, and works on restoration, enhancement, and production from the rural land resource.

The umbrella entity is a for-profit conglomerate spending a proportion of its profits on improving regional resources. It may use national and state lands and waters but, most importantly, it provides opportunities for the owners of private lands and waters (often for absentee owners, trust lands, and those within forestry cooperatives) to experience profits related to superior land management. While managing the assets of such lands, Rural System provides related services and products from the unified business units. Half of these units work from the private managed lands that are under contract. A single Land Force works under contract on many tracts. A central unit provides incubator-like services and allows the corporation to harvest public research investments, to achieve economies of scale and division of labor, to gain synergism, and to stabilize employment.

The enterprise leads the region in computer-aided, year-around, private land management. It shares projects and funds with citizens and investors. It links citizens as well as visitors to the land and its long-term potentials for profits. It provides an alternative town and regional identity, one of a place for modern regional rural resource development and management. It links buyers and users with producers of certified forest products and wildland resource opportunities from well-managed rural land and water resources. Successes are achieved via diligent work with personal incentives, diverse enterprises and products, and computer optimization of a total system. It overcomes the old failures of natural resource management, i.e., diseconomies of small-scale operations, mixed objectives, lack of diversity, seasonal work, lack of annual income, and failure to add value to products and efforts. It capitalizes on innovative uses of optimization, the Internet, global positioning satellites, and computer mapping throughout the region.

The system is described at with the main links and proposed offerings in the e-Catalog.

The vision for the enterprise is that its success in helping improve the social, economic, and environmental health of the region can allow the enterprise to become effective and expand. Thus, similar influences can be transferred, years later, throughout southern and western Virginia, then eventually internationally. The work will be recognized as the product of a special paradigm in rural resource and wildland management. As such, Rural System will become a profitable conglomerate operating well past this century, given its 150-year planning horizon sliding forward annually.
Robert H. Giles, Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech
504 Rose Avenue, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060
Phone: 540-552-8672
December, 2009

Catalog Main Page
December, 2009