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Strategic Research Programme

3.4.1: Demographic change in remote areas

Research Deliverable 3.4.1 on demographic change in remote rural areas involves  Jonathan Hopkins and  Ruth Wilson from the James Hutton Institute, and Jane Atterton ,  Rob McMorran , Jayne Glass Carly Maynard and Marcus  Craigie from SRUC.

This project explores the links between trends in farming, crofting and key industries and population change. It will investigate how these affect the provision of ecosystem services and potentially threaten the resilience of rural communities.

The research addresses key questions about the changing nature of peripherality and the role of local territorial capital. Popular theories of rural development argue that at least part of the impetus for local development should originate in the local population but what happens when the local population declines so far as to pass a critical threshold meaning that such local impetus is no longer possible? Can more networked models of local development, which draw on external interactions and resources, compensate for sparse and dwindling local capacity? 

  • One of the recent outputs from tihs research deliverable is a report presenting Scottish and International examples of successful policy interventions to support repopulation of island and remote rural communities, which could be piloted in similar communities in Scotland. The report can be downloaded here
  • Another output, from March 2019,  is a review of international case studies outwith of Scotland, which have comparable degrees or remoteness and sparsity, with the aim of identifying good practices, and perhaps alternative policy approaches in tackling demographic stagnation or decline. The report can be downloaded here.

More information about this project can be found by visiting the main project webpage hosted by our colleagues at the James Hutton Institute.

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