Pros and cons of community based natural resource management.
Dryland Resource Economics
What makes them successful
or Fail? Case Studies Analysis
Moses Kaiira and Pauline Gitonga
Dryland Resource Management Doctoral
University of Nairobi, Department of Land
Resource and Agricultural Technology
Community based natural resource management
(CBNRM) is a way for communities to work together
to protect their natural resources and at the same
time bring long-lasting benefits to the community
and future generations
CBNRM projects vary within and between nations
resulting in considerable diversity in project
development, implementation and outcomes.
This presentation will highlight the principles that
make one project to be a success and another to
7 principles of successful CBNRM
of livelihood options in the use of natural
resources so as to minimise risks in case of natural and
2. Natural resource base sustainably maintained to secure
livelihoods for current and future generations
3.Involve all stakeholders e.g. local organisations, local
governments and community organisations.
4.Community receive direct and indirect economic, social,
cultural and spiritual benefits.
5.Community involved in the development and
implementation of policies and laws e.g. land tenure and
distribution of benefits and resources
6.Capacity building and technology transfer to the
communities that respects the local knowledge and
7. Good understanding of local leadership who should fully
understand and support the projects.
(Tang and NanZhao 2011)
CBNRM projects have 4 main focus areas;
Incentive based approach
1. Sustainable livelihood focus: Successful case
The Kam’mwamba Community Integrated Natural resource
management and Use Project in Malawi
Community had been experiencing heavy deforestation from
both commercial exploitation and locals striving to earn a living to
enhance their livelihoods from 3000 hectares of indigenous forest
Designed to identify economic value in the indigenous forests and
devise mechanisms through which the community can benefit from
such value and create an incentive to conserve the forests
economic value was identified to be in the harvesting and
marketing of non-timber forest products.
Incorporation of sustainable livelihood and environmental
management strategies build on community resilience and
adaptive capacity lessens the vulnerability of the community to
future climate change (Chishakwe et al., 2012).
2. Incentive based approach; Successful
Masoka CAMPFIRE Programme - Zimbabwe
Wildlife was the most valuable resource but it was also
the greatest threat to agricultural production. The
solution was to promote the conservation of wildlife
through the provision of economic benefits of wildlife
hunting as well as agricultural production.
Decision to implement was community self driven with
NGOs playing and advisory role on request and on
Erection of fences to protect and enhance agricultural
production. Right to hunting quota approved by parks
and wildlife authority given to private operator who
marketed hunts internationally then revenues shared by
community, rural district council and the private safari
To enhance capacity to respond and cope with
vulnerabilities caused by climate change
communities will be motivated to embrace
initiatives if the incentives are direct, visible and
demonstrates that cash dividends can assist in
reducing a community’s short-term vulnerability,
enabling households to respond to climate-related
shocks, aiding households to manage risk and
facilitating livelihoods transitions (Chishakwe et al.,
2. Incentive based cont.. Failed case
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary as a CBNRM initiative: maintaining
livelihoods and wetland health
Background and Implementation
Analyzed different components of CBNRM initiatives by
interviewing managing committee members and local
households on how the project works and associated
benefits and constraints.
In order to conserve the wetland there is need for proper
monitoring and clear leadership
Communities should be made aware of the monetary
benefits accrued from conserving the natural resource
3. Devolution –Failed case
The quest for governance: Decision making on a
groundwater commons in India’s Drylands
India has over 20 million private tubewells for irrigation and is the
largest consumer of groundwater throughout the world. The
overuse of tubewell technology by private investment is causing
groundwater scarcity and salinity.
Survey on social capital to measure the norms and networks of
participants, predict extraction levels and find a link if any
between social capital and collective action.
CBNRM ground water management can work but communities
have different social preferences for the extraction and use of
ground water and state interventions may be necessary to
streamline and secure common property rights especially for
private extraction (Lekha 2011).
Devolution cont… Failed case
Bawa and Daque in Mozambique
Background and Implementation
In Bawa project aimed at sustainable management of wildlife
- buffalo and antelope while Daque there was collaborative
management of water resources, forests, wildlife and fishing
Community committees for natural resource management
were established by interested community members, using a
gender-sensitive approach and were turned into legally
recognized organizations to represent the people interests on
natural resource issues.
Unlike other devolution approaches that originate from
central government, devolution in this case was site specific
and originated from rural community, district and provincial
In some cases conflicts emerged with the creation of the
institutions, as traditional authorities felt that their positions and
powers were being taken away
Devolution cont.. Mozambique case
New institutions faced difficulties in imposing their
authority to communities that were used to free
access to natural resources,
In addition, the traditional local authorities
questioned the legitimacy and accountability of such
CBNRM projects should not only consist of new
structures but should also recognize and include
existing traditional institutional structures to be
Institutional arrangements must be inclusive and
create space for all relevant stakeholders - such as
elected representatives, community members, NGOs
and the private sector to participate at any time
(Chishakwe et al., 2012).
4. Communal Proprietorship –Successful case
Mayuni Conservancy - Namibia
Namibian Government’s approach to CBNRM focused
on encouraging and recognizing communally defined
and owned “conservancies.” Under laws enacted in
The large population in Mayuni conservancy resulted in
more competition for natural resources such as
construction poles, grazing pastures, thatching grass,
foods and land. A problem of “open access” developed,
with local indigenous populations unable to control the
settlement of outsiders on communal lands or the use of
Communal Proprietorship cont…
Community elected a committee to represent the group,
agreed upon a legal constitution that provides for sustainable
management of hunting and “non-consumptive” uses of
wildlife (e.g., tourism).
also established means of managing funds, approved
equitable method for distributing income and defined
geographic boundaries of proposed conservancy.
institutional Board of Trustees was formed with two tribal
courts representatives and an appointed executive
Committee which carried out the day-to-day conservancy
activities The key role of the Board of Trustees was to ensure
that the policies and activities of the conservancy were
Communal Proprietorship cont.…
The conservancy management committee and the tribal
authority facilitated the formation of a development
committee. This committee also had strong relationship with
institutions like the conservancy water committee.
The community enjoyed rights of ownership over wildlife
resources for their own purposes.
Traditional leadership can play an important role in signifying
and symbolizing community ownership.
capital elements such as ‘relationships of trust’ between
the community and its traditional leadership and between the
traditional leadership and project implementers is an important
factor in promoting communal ownership of CBNRM projects
(Chishakwe et al., 2012).
In conclusion, successful CBNRM ;
local leadership, share the control and
responsibility by involving the community in
Ensure Individuals or groups don't use the project
for their own ambitions by ensuring projects have
clear goals and plans that can be monitored and
Keep everyone informed and allow people to
make contributions, set rules and have powers to
discipline offenders .
Should be ready for unexpected events and
surprises over which you have little control. Need
patience and different skills to encourage
community to work together.
Realize that community organisation and project takeoff can be slow and difficult process that can take
years. Everyone needs to stay committed and give
support for as long as necessary.
Respect and understand communities history, religion,
traditional and cultural practices.
Build trust between people and work hard to keep it.
Guiding policies involve communities at
developmental stage and these policies should be
easy to understand, acquire, all inclusive, capture
local rules and give clear guidelines on handing over
authority to communities after ensuring projects are
sustainable (conserve as well as economically benefit
the people in the long run).
Chishakwe, N., Murray, L. and Chambwera M.,( 2012).
Building climate change adaptation on community
experiences: Lessons from community-based natural resource
management in southern Africa, International Institute for
Environment and Development. London.
Lekha A. K. (2011). The quest for governance: Decision
making on a groundwater commons in India’s Drylands. A
Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation in Natural Resources and
Environment at the University of Michigan
Gosling A. (2011). A case study of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
as a community driven Community-Based Natural Resource
Management initiative: maintaining livelihoods and wetland
health. A Master of Science thesis at Rhodes University
TANG Z. and NAN ZHAO (2011). Assessing the principles of
community-based natural resources management in local
environmental conservation plans. Journal of Environmental
Assessment Policy and Management:13 : 405–434