USDA Forest Service

North Central Research Station


North Central Research Station
1992 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

(651) 649-5000

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Landscape Change Integrated Program
- What Drives Landscape Change?

The Importance of Natural Resources

[Photo]: two people in a canoe on a river surrounded by trees.  Since the 1970s, one of the most important features of the changing midwestern landscape is the movement of people into forested rural and exurban regions of northern Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin and southern Missouri.

The most compelling explanation for the rural renaissance is that people want to live in areas rich in natural resource amenities and are willing to sacrifice higher wages, better job opportunities, and urban amenities for a better quality of life.

Scientists at the North Central Research Station are leading an effort to understand the role of natural resources and the increasing diversity of social factors influencing urban to rural migration.

The three studies in this section describe the importance of forests, lakes, and, surprisingly, roads, in people’s decisions to move to rural areas or commuter-based subdivisions outside cities. Amenity migration is a trend worth watching because it can bring major, fundamental change to the social and natural landscape.

Amenity Migration as a Driver of Landscape Change
Accessibility as a Driver of Landscape Change
Homeowners’ and Developers’ Views of Nature


USDA Forest Service - North Central Research Station
Last Modified: Friday, 16 January 2004

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