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This is my personal web log all written by me unless otherwise specified. I’m a retired professor emeritus of wildlife management and systems ecology at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA). I taught and did studies with grad students at the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, for 5 years after receiving a Ph.D. degree in zoology from Ohio State University. I returned to Virginia Tech where I had gotten degrees in forestry and in biology. Diverse experiences with the Virginia state wildlife agency as a district game biologist and as a consultant have helped me learn the needs of land, resources, citizens and their communities. My experience as a forest trail crewman in Oregon, a Virginia veterinary assistant, a hazard investigator on an Ohio watershed, a consultant on coalmine impacts, and as a rural land owner gave him an intimacy with the land essential to understanding it well. I became pretty intimate with the lands and swamps of Georgia and Florida while in training for my U.S. Army Ranger tab.

After 38 years of teaching faunal system management and many related topics, writing several books, and making speeches, I realized that much of what I had been professing was not being implemented because principles were flawed or inadequate, the incentives were not clear, or that I was a poor teacher. Since I had gotten several university teaching awards, I discounted the latter reason and in 1999 started developing the Rural System concept (

Profit now seems to me to be the required motive to get significant natural resource and social improvements. I continue trying to implement that for-profit system, somehow, some place. Designed for the Virginia and Tennessee coalfields (then franchised), the System now seems right for people and their communities in damaged or marginalized rural areas of the US and probably other parts of the world, especially refugee areas. A list of graduate student theses and his publications, the building blocks for my ideas, is available.

I now live in Blacksburg, Virginia, with my only wife of more than 50 years.

The opinions expressed here belong to me and they may not in any way express those of my wife, daughters or their families, or former employers or colleagues. The ideas come from many conversations, lectures, readings, and “the ethers” and I fully acknowledge with great appreciation the contributions of so many others, friends, students, and colleagues.

I want to hear almost anything and everything from you on this topic so please say what you want to. Am I missing anything?

Contact him: RHGiles [at] RuralSystem [dot] com


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