Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 25
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Chomba, Susan Treue, Thorsten and Sinclair, Fergus 2015. The political economy of forest entitlements: can community based forest management reduce vulnerability at the forest margin?. Forest Policy and Economics, Vol. 58, p. 37.

    Mahajan, Shauna L. and Daw, Tim 2016. Perceptions of ecosystem services and benefits to human well-being from community-based marine protected areas in Kenya. Marine Policy, Vol. 74, p. 108.

    Girard, Alexandra M. 2014. Stepping into Formal Politics. World Development, Vol. 57, p. 1.

    Noe, Christine and Kangalawe, RichardY. M. 2015. Wildlife Protection, Community Participation in Conservation, and (Dis) Empowerment in Southern Tanzania. Conservation and Society, Vol. 13, Issue. 3, p. 244.

    McDermott, Melanie Mahanty, Sango and Schreckenberg, Kate 2013. Examining equity: A multidimensional framework for assessing equity in payments for ecosystem services. Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 33, p. 416.

    Chhetri, Bir Bahadur Khanal Lund, Jens Friis and Nielsen, Øystein Juul 2012. The public finance potential of community forestry in Nepal. Ecological Economics, Vol. 73, p. 113.

    Sareen, Siddharth 2016. Who Governs Local Access in Jharkhand? Mechanisms of Access to Government Services. Forum for Development Studies, p. 1.

    Liu, Ziming Müller, Malte Rommel, Jens and Feng, Shuyi 2016. Community-based agricultural land consolidation and local elites: Survey evidence from China. Journal of Rural Studies,

    Kusumawati, Rini and Visser, Leontine 2016. Capturing the Elite in Marine Conservation in Northeast Kalimantan. Human Ecology, Vol. 44, Issue. 3, p. 301.

    Lund, Jens Friis and Saito-Jensen, Moeko 2013. Revisiting the Issue of Elite Capture of Participatory Initiatives. World Development, Vol. 46, p. 104.

    He, Jun 2014. Governing forest restoration: Local case studies of sloping land conversion program in Southwest China. Forest Policy and Economics, Vol. 46, p. 30.

    Persha, Lauren and Andersson, Krister 2014. Elite capture risk and mitigation in decentralized forest governance regimes. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 24, p. 265.

    Lestari, Sri Kotani, Koji and Kakinaka, Makoto 2015. Enhancing voluntary participation in community collaborative forest management: A case of Central Java, Indonesia. Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 150, p. 299.

    Saito-Jensen, Moeko and Nathan, Iben 2011. Exploring the Potentials of Community-Based Natural Resource Management for Benefiting Local Communities: Policies and Practice in Four Communities in Andhra Pradesh, India. Society & Natural Resources, Vol. 24, Issue. 11, p. 1142.

    Saito-Jensen, Moeko Rutt, Rebecca L. and Chhetri, Bir Bahadur Khanal 2014. Social and Environmental Tensions: Affirmative Measures Under REDD + Carbon Payment Initiatives in Nepal. Human Ecology, Vol. 42, Issue. 5, p. 683.

    Torpey-Saboe, Nichole Andersson, Krister Mwangi, Esther Persha, Lauren Salk, Carl and Wright, Glenn 2015. Benefit Sharing Among Local Resource Users: The Role of Property Rights. World Development, Vol. 72, p. 408.

    Oli, Bishwa Nath Treue, Thorsten and Smith-Hall, Carsten 2016. The relative importance of community forests, government forests, and private forests for household-level incomes in the Middle Hills of Nepal. Forest Policy and Economics, Vol. 70, p. 155.

    Ota, Masahiko Masuda, Misa and Tani, Yukako 2013. The Institutional Design and Effectiveness of Timber Benefit Sharing under Joint Forest Management in Madhya Pradesh, India. Small-scale Forestry, Vol. 12, Issue. 2, p. 215.

    Nielsen, Martin Reinhardt and Treue, Thorsten 2012. Hunting for the Benefits of Joint Forest Management in the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot: Effects on Bushmeat Hunters and Wildlife in the Udzungwa Mountains. World Development, Vol. 40, Issue. 6, p. 1224.

    DAVIES, TAMMY E. PETTORELLI, NATHALIE CRESSWELL, WILL and FAZEY, IOAN R. A. 2014. Who are the poor? Measuring wealth inequality to aid understanding of socioeconomic contexts for conservation: a case-study from the Solomon Islands. Environmental Conservation, Vol. 41, Issue. 04, p. 357.


Beyond elite capture? Community-based natural resource management and power in Mohammed Nagar village, Andhra Pradesh, India

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 September 2010

Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) projects and policies often aim to improve the livelihoods of rural people who depend on natural resources, and to promote democratic decision making and equitable benefit distribution at the local level. However, a growing number of critics argue that CBNRM is susceptible to elite capture. This paper contributes to the debate on elite capture under CBNRM by studying joint forest management (JFM) in Andhra Pradesh (India) and, in particular, the case of Mohammed Nagar village. The paper addresses the following four questions: (1) How has the Indian Government formally addressed the risk of elite capture? (2) What actually happened over time when formal structures of JFM interacted with the pre-existing social structure in Mohammed Nagar? (3) When JFM results in elite capture, is this owing to the formal structures and/or the pre-existing social structure? (4) How can CBNRM be designed to avoid or minimize elite capture? Based on a reading of official government documents, the Indian Government has addressed the risk of elite capture, by ensuring representation of different social groups in the decision making bodies, regular elections, collective action in rule making and implementation, and transparency in record keeping. Nevertheless, during Mohammed Nagar's 10 years of JFM history elite capture did occur. This confirms that elite capture is a possible outcome of CBNRM. Yet, the subsequent fall of elite capture in the village also indicates that this is not necessarily a permanent outcome, and that CBNRM may in fact promote democratic and equitable resource management in the long-term. In Mohammed Nagar elite capture was largely owing to pre-existing social structures and to weaknesses in the official rules that were meant to safeguard the interests of marginalized groups. Accordingly, in CBNRM project design and implementation, pre-existing social structures' potential promotion of elite capture need to be taken into account and formal measures that might alleviate the adverse effects and/or reduce this risk must be identified.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Moeko Saito-Jensen e-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

B. Agarwal (1997) Environmental action, gender equity and women's participation. Development and Change 28: 144.

A. Agrawal & C.C. Gibson (1999) Enchantment and disenchantment: the role of community in natural resource conservation. World Development 27: 629649.

J.P. Brosius , A.L. Tsing & C. Zerner (1998) Representing communities: histories and politics of community-based natural resource management. Society and Natural Resources 11: 157168.

B. Campbell , A. Mandondo , N. Nemarundwe , B. Sithole , W. de Jong , M. Luckert & F. Matose (2001) Challenges to proponents of common property resource systems: despairing voices from the social forests of Zimbabwe. World Development 29: 589600.

F. Cleaver (1999) Paradoxes of participation: questioning participatory approaches to development. Journal of International Development 11: 597612.

F. Cleaver (2005) The inequality of social capital and the reproduction of chronic poverty. World Development 33: 893906.

I. Guijt & M. Shah , eds (1998) The Myth of Community: Gender Issues in Participatory Development. London, UK: Intermediate Technology Publications.

S. Kumar (2002) Does ‘participation’ in common pool resource management help the poor? A social cost-benefit analysis of joint forest management in Jharkhand, India. World Development 30: 763782.

N. Long (2001) Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives. London, UK and New York, NY, USA: Routledge.

G. Mansuri & V. Rao (2004) Community-based and driven development: a critical review. The World Bank Research Observer 19: 139.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Saito-Jensen supplementary material

 Unknown (219 KB)
219 KB