Report by Daigneault and Weiskittel describes community resilience in Northern Border Region

Describing the resilience to major economic, ecological and climate change by rural communities across northern New England and New York through qualitative and quantitative data is the objective of a new report written by University of Maine researchers Adam Daigneault and Aaron Weiskittel and their colleagues.

The project team and partners will present key findings from the report during a free, public webinar at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 25. Registration is available online.

Cities, towns and villages throughout the Northern Border Region are more likely to have higher levels of unemployment, population loss and lower incomes than neighboring areas. By providing objective metrics to explore these issues and how communities endure them, researchers hope their new report will help guide strategic investments from the federal and state governments to aid the region.

Community resilience can be measured by the ability to support human well-being in the aftermath of disruptive events such as recession, local loss of industry or a global pandemic, according to researchers. In their report, researchers provide community-level insight by developing quantitative indicators of socioeconomic resilience and baseline data for people’s views on assets and challenges. They also determined ways to use ecological data to help analyze community resilience.

“Our study demonstrates the utility of using objective data to understand resilience trends at the community scale,” says Daigenault, lead author of the report, University of Maine E.L. Giddings Associate Professor of Forest Policy and Economics and Mitchell Center Faculty Fellow. “The abundance of forestland in the region can be a blessing and a curse. While forests provide a range of ecosystem services like fiber, recreation, and clean water to local communities, we also found that highly resource-dependent communities can be less resilient than other parts of the region.”