The Future Economic Rural Network (FERN) is exploring a new series on effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global rural economy over the past two years.

In this new series, the organisation will look at several locations in Europe and elsewhere from news reports and firsthand interviews and see how communities and society have responded to the once-in-a-century virus.

FERN will also look at socio-economic changes which have taken place in rural environments, including the knock-on effects from the pandemic on their economies, including the development of remote working.

In the past year, rural areas of the United Kingdom and Ireland have struggled with surges of infections, the most high-profile case being Cornwall in 2021 following the G7-Group of countries meeting. Following that meeting of global leaders, the large police presence which included forces from across the United Kingdom, appeared to be a regional catalyst for a large spike in infection in the following weeks.

Rural tourism and second homes have also been as a key indicator of economic activity of rural areas throughout the pandemic, however, as people have looked to escape the city, there has been a significant interest in rural areas by city dwellers.

These and other factors are this year’s research topics FERN will endeavour to look into.