Is small really beautiful? Community-based natural resource management in Malawi and Botswana

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Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) remains a popular policy with many international funding institutions, in spite of growing evidence of its disappointing outcomes. It is underpinned by theoretically justified benefits which serve to reproduce and market it. The paper explores approaches to understand and rectify these failures. The conclusion is that explanatory effort should be expanded from the “facilitating characteristics” of potentially successful CBNRM sites to include two sets of interfaces—those between donors and recipient states, and between the state (especially the local state) and CBNRMs at the local level. Illustrative examples in Botswana and Malawi are given throughout the discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1942-1957
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Development
Issue number11
Early online date20 Sep 2006
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • community-based natural resource management
  • central and southern Africa

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