Hyper-extractive counties in the U.S. A coupled-systems approach

Joseph A. Aistrup, László J. Kulcsár, Jacob A. Mauslein, Sarah Beach, David R. Steward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this paper, we advance a theoretical framework for defining hyper-extractive coupled-systems in the United States. Our purpose is to extend a model constructed for an agricultural system in Southwest Kansas into a general theory that can be used to successfully classify counties across the U.S. that depend on the extraction of natural resources. We begin with developing the theoretical foundations for the hyper-extractive coupled-system. We then fit this theory within the existing literature regarding the classification of rural counties. Finally, drawing on a coupled human-natural systems theoretical framework (Liu et al., 2007), we develop a new spatially based empirical measure of rural context that captures the complex, multidimensional interactions between humans and their natural environments. GIS hot spot and factor analytic techniques are used to empirically identify existing coupled-systems, linking contiguous counties in the rural U.S. based on 35 indicators of land use, employment patterns, demographics, physiography, and climate. In addition to identifying three different types of hyper-extractive counties across the U.S., our approach reveals a number of other coupled-systems based on agriculture and ranching, mining, manufacturing, scenic amenities, and forestry and fishing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Hyper-extractive counties in the U.S. A coupled-systems approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this