The role of the natural heritage in rural development: An empirical anaysis of economic linkages in Scotland

P. Courtney, G. Hill, Deborah Jane Roberts

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    59 Citations (Scopus)


    There is growing recognition of the important role played by natural heritage in rural economic development, but limited empirical work as yet to inform this debate. This paper examines the nature and strength of local economic linkages associated with the natural heritage in four case study areas in Scotland, differentiated in terms of their peripherality and dependence on the natural heritage. A framework for identifying 'natural heritage activities' in different localities is developed and applied in each study area. The framework distinguishes between three types of natural heritage activities, 'core' activities, such as environmental management; 'primary production and extraction' activities; and 'reliant' activities where the natural heritage is highly important to a business's commercial viability. Analysis of first-round economic linkages and multiplier effects of local economic activity in the four case study areas indicates that natural heritage 'reliant' activities have the greatest potential for generating local economic benefits through their propensity to source locally. They are also found to contribute more significantly to the economic base of the study areas through sales of goods and services to visitors. The policy implications of the findings are discussed. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)469-484
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Rural Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • natural heritage
    • local economic integration
    • multiplier analysis
    • rural development policy
    • IMPACT
    • FOOD
    • AREAS


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