The resources considered necessary for community self-sufficiency have expanded beyond natural resources to include techniques for communication, transportation, commerce and financing which were once considered luxuries.
In small mining communities, natural resources other than the mine (such as unutilized land, unused water resources or natural forests of valuable timber) may often be ignored and undeveloped. The land is usually owned and maintained by outside agencies, and is not always seen as an untapped reservoir of economic potential, so that land resources are undeveloped and the community does not receive the benefits of this economic resource. Even if, as is often the case, there is a sizeable amount of land that has been cleared of housing and is now unoccupied, the legal procedures for any new ventures are complex, lengthy and challenging. Plans to make lakes into recreation areas may be abandoned because of conflicting demands for irrigation by farmers downstream. Farmers, however, need water rights. Any new industries will need not only water-power and land, but also supporting services.
[Developing countries] In many Third World communities the basic resources that are present are severely overtaxed while others are only beginning to be introduced. The currently cultivated land is being stretched to support increasing population: material from the land is used for every possible purpose, even cornstalks serving as cooking fuel, fodder and roofing. Nevertheless, even where the land is rich and potentially productive, irrigation water may not yet be available; fertiliser and weed or pest control, where available, may be more expensive than most farmers can afford. Land ownership remains a complex matter that seems to work against coordinated farming efforts. The new resources such as radios and telephones, dependable transportation, local health services and commercial skills may be beginning to appear, but at only a fraction of what is needed for social and industrial development. Plans may be made but are slow in coming to fruition: bridges may have been planned for years but not yet be built; telephone cables may be laid, but few telephones be installed; and veterinary hospitals may be built but be without full-time staff. Residents are distressed at the realization that the only obstacle to many of these improvements is their own lack of expertise in petition and negotiation.