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One Way or Another, We All Live Downstream…




natural resources overview


A protected environment is part of the foundation of a strong Appalachia. MACED believes that one of the indicators of a healthy community and a high quality of life is an environment that is conserved and enjoyed by its residents.


Eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachian are rich with natural resources and beauty. Timber, coal and natural gas are all part of the fabric of the economy in the region, but when extracted thoughtlessly and without regard for the future, their pursuit can do damage to communities and other important natural assets—like clean water, soil quality and forests. MACED believes it is possible to both conserve important natural resources and see these assets benefit the people and communities of the region through reasonable economic return, recreational use, tourism and the many other important services provided by a healthy environment. 


Through the years, MACED has worked with Appalachian communities to enhance the sustainable use of natural resources. To MACED, sustainable use means using and conserving resources in a way that does not harm other aspects of the land, protecting a future supply of the resource and respecting its intrinsic value. Many Appalachian residents hold the mountains, hills and forests as a basic part of their culture and communities.


MACED has often sought to promote practices that increase the value of our natural resources before they leave the area through value-added processes. Why ship a harvested tree out of state when you can ship dimension lumber, or even a piece of furniture, and leave more money at home? MACED’s work seeks to find a balance where natural resources are an important part of local economies contributing to jobs and income without damaging the long-term ecological and community value of the resources.


A few projects among many have included improving access to clean, safe drinking water, demonstrating how forests can provide income and lasting ecological benefit and investing in small businesses which support and build upon the region’s natural environment. These efforts are aimed at improving the quality of life for residents and making stronger local economies built on the natural resources that make the region unique.