Co-governing natural resources in Southern Africa: lessons from Fisheries Co-Management, Malawi and Conservation Co-Management, South Africa
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Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), a term frequently used since the 1980s, denotes the increasing rapprochement between social justice and conservation management objectives in southern Africa. The colonial legacy of the region has had a profound effect on conservation and resource management policies. Many communities have been alienated by heavy state control over resource use and ownership. Shifts in conservation thinking can therefore be seen in the proliferation of decentralised, community- based projects and programmes, such as community wildlife management, social forestry and land use planning. This shift from ‘fortress conservation' to community conservation has its roots in the emergence of discourses around sustainable development, local participation in public policies, market-based incentives for resource conservation, and the need to extend conservation beyond protected areas (Adams and Hulme, 1998). The promotion of CBNRM has also received extensive support from donor agencies. Thus, CBNRM approaches are essentially concerned with conferring greater control and responsibility for resource management on local resource users and actors.