FRASC Past Meetings

Understanding California's Rural Economy: People and Natural Resources

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the meeting on June 5, 2014 where we discussed sustainable rural economies. The meeting focused on the connection between forests, rangelands, and rural economies. Meeting materials are available below. Please review them and provide us with any comments and suggestions you may have.

rural barn


Meeting Materials:

Meeting Agenda (PDF)

Meeting Notes

Meeting Recording (MP3)



We would like to offer you the opportunity to respond to the same questions our panelists answered. Click here to view the questions.If you have any responses you would like to provide, or if you have any other feedback, we welcome your input.


Panel Speakers:

  • Michael Smith –Senior Program Manager for Environment and Planning, AECOM
  • Deb Whital, Social Scientist, Region 5 USFS
  • Fatuma Yusuf, Senior Economist, CH2MHill Consulting
Click here to read more about our speakers


Meeting Goal:

We are meeting to give FRAP a basis for addressing rural economic issues in the 2015 assessment.


Meeting Objectives:

  • Discuss key social and economic trends and conditions in rural Califonria and how they balance with environmental conditions
  • Examine the mix of noncommercial goods and services that make rural communities in California attractive places to live.
  • Discuss the threats to sustaining rural economies and possible solutions to those problems.


Meeting Background:

California is endowed with an appealing climate for agriculture, recreation, and residence. The wealth of natural resources within the state has generated economic growth rates that exceed most of the country and has also allowed California to attract labor and capital from the rest of the nation and the world. California underpins much of the nation's contemporary economic success (and failure) and leads the way in manufacturing and high tech sectors. Overall, the state's income and earnings levels have exceeded the national level for the past half century.

However, fundamental shifts in the structure of national and international economies, coupled with persistently sluggish job growth, have left many in rural California economically strapped, possibly jobless, with little hope of a turnaround in the near future. While the state overall enjoys a sense of affluence, its rural communities show signs of significant economic, environmental, and social stress.

Our last Assessment in 2010 did not provide an in-depth examination of rural economies. We hope to provide this in our upcoming 2015 Assessment. Please join us for the June 5, 2014 FRASC meeting to help us frame the discussion. We would like your input on potential analytical frameworks as well as key data.




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