DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2016/B53/S21.048

NATURAL RESOURCE SIGNIFICANCE IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION: THE CASE OF LATVIA

Z. Bulderberga, B. Rivza
Wednesday 7 September 2016 by Libadmin2016

References: 16th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2016, www.sgem.org, SGEM2016 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-67-4 / ISSN 1314-2704, June 28 - July 6, 2016, Book5 Vol. 3, 373-380 pp

ABSTRACT
Over the past years, there have been scientific and decision-makers’ discussions on how to evaluate a territorial development level. In the past decades, the focus has been mainly on economic indicators, leaving the social or environmental dimension out of it. Different territorial evaluation indexes are used by the local or national government in the EU to determine a development level and evaluate the results of regional and rural policies. At the moment, the main tool used by the Latvian government in order to evaluate a territorial development level is the territorial development index (TDI). The TDI describes mostly the economic and social dimensions, including such indicators as unemployment rate, personal income tax revenue, number of criminal offenses, entrepreneurship activity etc.; therefore, it is essential to determine the impact and significance of natural resources in a territorial development evaluation.
The aim of the research is to determine the main role and significance of natural resources (forest, land, minerals) in the rural development evaluation system in Latvia. The methods used in the research are as follows: monographic, analysis and synthesis, induction and deduction, statistical analysis methods, factor analysis and cluster analysis.
The research showed that there were significant differences comparing TDI values and the amounts and availability of natural resources in municipalities. The highest TDI values were for those municipalities which are located close to the capital city of Riga, although they did not have any natural resources and the main economic sector was services (wholesale in particular). On the other hand – municipalities with a larger amount of natural resources were showing lower TDI values. The capacity to use natural resources effectively in order to foster the development of a municipality is insufficient and has to be increased. It may be achieved by introducing the environmental dimension in the rural development evaluation system and by making changes in regional policy guidelines and expected results.

Keywords: rural development, territorial development index, natural resources