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The conceptual evolution and practice of community-based natural resource management in southern Africa: past, present and future

  • BRIAN CHILD (a1) and GRENVILLE BARNES (a2)

Summary

This paper reviews the concept and practice of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) as it has evolved in southern Africa, with a particular focus on Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, Zambia. It recognizes that, like democracy, CBNRM is both an imperfect process and a conceptual goal. The governance of economic processes, property rights and local political organization lie at the heart of CBNRM. The first challenge is to replace fiscal centralization, fees and bureaucracy (and the subsidization of alternative land uses) that have historically undervalued wild resources, so that CBNRM's comparative economic advantage is reflected in landholder and community incentives. Second, devolving property rights to communities shifts resource governance, responsibility and benefit appropriately to the local level. This necessitates accountable, transparent and equitable micro-governance, which in turn is linked to effective meso-level support and monitoring and cross-scale linkages between central government and local communities. This paper outlines the evolution of current models of CBNRM in the region and suggests core strategies for the next generation of CBNRM.

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Corresponding author

*Correspondence: Dr Brian Child Tel: +1 352 392 0494 Fax: +1 352 392 8855 e-mail: bchild@ufl.edu

References

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