The purpose of this investigation is to examine social and economic patterns in farming and mining communities in the Forth Basin in relation to the physical environment. In farming communities, special interest will be focussed on marginal lands, and in mining districts on waste areas. In both cases the critical problem of declining villages will be discussed.
The analysis of the physical and human patterns is concentrated, in the first instance, on landform, soil, and climate, and, in the second, on population density, composition, and migration. The major types of land use associated with marginal farming and declining mining areas, and the measures that might be taken to minimize the problems arising from the prevailing uses of land, have also been studied.
Chapters two to six are devoted to the study of farming canmunities in the marginal stock -farm areas. The second chapter defines the term "marginal" as, briefly, an area of unprofitable undertaking, and shows the difficulty in recognising and mapping these areas.
Chapter three considers the relationships between the physical and cultural landscapes, and population trends, labour, transportation, and general amenities. Attention is also given to the villages along the northern edge of the Lammermuirs and Moorfoot Hills with respect to their role as social and service centres for the outlying farms. The recent changes they have undergone are outlined. Chapter four describes in greater detail a sample fanning community, namely, Garvald.
Chapters five and six are concerned with the problem of revitalizing the marginal stock -farm communities. The fifth chapter treats, in particular, the state of the high -ground pastures, in terms, both of underlying physical and human factors, and discusses some methods by which improvement might be effected. The sixth chapter examines the possibilities for intensifying marginal land use on the peatlands of the lowland area. IIere, the fonnation and special characteristics of peat are described, and also the problems involved in peatland reclamation.
Chapters seven to nine study the mining communities of the Forth Basin. Chapter seven is an introduction to the succeeding chapters, describing briefly the factors that have contributed to the growth of the mining communities, such as the coal aïid shale oil industries. Chapter eight deals with the physical effects arising out of the superimposition of the mining industry on the farming area. The problems of industrial waste heaps and subsidence are given special consideration. Chapter nine analyses patterns of social conditions like housing, population growth and composition, and labour characteristics in certain predominantly mining communities. Comparisons are made with conditions in other types of towns. Chapter ten examines Winchburgh, a mining community, in greater detail.
Chapter eleven summarises the study and arrives at certain conclusions.