Appalachia has long exported to its neighbors its stores of coal, petroleum, natural gas, metallic ores, timber, and water. But these resources, and others, have not provided many of the region's people with a standard of living that approximates that of the rest of the nation. Herein lies one of the paradoxes of this enigmatic area: chronic imbalance in fiscal well-being across a region of immense resource wealth. Resources can provide the raw materials for sustained regional development and growth. Throughout the region's recent history, though, some resources—such as coal—have been carelessly exploited for short-term gain by the few. Other resources—the seemingly endless hardwood forests, for example—have been abused alike by the people who occupy the land and by outsiders. This tradition of irresponsible resource use is at the root of many of Appalachian social and economic ills. The region is neither homogeneous in the distribution of resources nor in the governance of their use. Some parts of the region are reasonably prosperous, and a number of urban areas are growing rapidly and are actively diversifying their economic bases. Other sections have experienced prolonged periods of unemployment and environmental and social degradation while surrounded by extensive mineral reserves. This chapter will outline the production and use of four types of resources that have been fundamental to the region's development: forests, agricultural products, water, and coal. Agriculture can be viewed as resource production in the same sense as forestry: Crops utilize soil, climate, and precipitation to yield a primary product that may be processed into food, fiber, or chemical raw materials and thereby provide employment and income.