Published by the Sustainable Agriculture Programme of the
International Institute for Environment and Development
Marshall W. Murphree
GATEKEEPER SERIES No. 36
The Gatekeeper Series of the Sustainable Agriculture Programme is produced by the International
Institute for Environment and Development to highlight key topics in the field of sustainable
agriculture. The Series is aimed at policy makers, researchers, planners and extension workers
in government and non-government organizations worldwide. Each paper reviews a selected issue
of contemporary importance and draws preliminary conclusions of relevance to development
activities. References are provided to important sources and background material. The Swedish
International Development Authority and the Ford Foundation fund the series.
Professor Marshall W. Murphree is the Director of the Centre of Applied Social Sciences at
University of Zimbabwe, PB. MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
This paper was initially presented to the National Conference on Environment and Development,
Maputo, Mozambique, 7-11 October 1991. A version appeared in the CASS Occassional Paper
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA36
2 GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA36
COMMUNITIES AS RESOURCE
Why Do People Manage the Environment?
We cannot glibly assume that everyone, everywhere, has the same reasons for an interest in the
environment. Different motives have different effects and policy. We have to understand who is
interested in what concerning the environment.
Perhaps we can simplify the answer by suggesting that people seek to manage the environment
for two reasons: first, because the management of natural resources improves the conditions of
their livelihood. Second. because environmental degradation is perceived to be threatening, either
to life-sustaining processes (eg. through pollution or soil erosion) or to peoples' aesthetic values.
These tow sets of reasons inter-relate, but the distinction between them is important, since the first
tends to predominate in the developmentalist perspective while the second tends to be prominent
in the conservationist stance.
To focus the discussion further, I make the following proposition: People seek to manage the
environment when the benefits of management are perceived to exceed its costs. This is an
important proposition since it introduces the issue of cost, which is a fundamental dimension of
environmental management. People may want to manage the environment for better production,
or to prevent the effects of its deterioration. The benefits they perceive may be short or long term.
But they will only manage the environment if they consider the benefit to be worth the cost and
if they have the means to meet these costs.
Natural Resource Management and Property Rights
The nature of the resource also has a bearing on management. Some resources, such as trees, are
fixed to a given land base and can be privatized or remain in the commons with no intrinsic
difficulties. Wild mammals, generally, are more mobile (or 'fugitive') and less amenable to
privatization, although this can be done through adequate fencing.
Fish are even more difficult to confine to defined spatial bases in large water bodies and difficult
to privatize except through aquaculture. However it is not only the nature of the resource which
determines whether it is common property, but also the resource regime in which it exists.
Generally, natural resources can be held under any one of four property rights regimes: Open-
Access; Communal Property; Private Property; and State Property. These, formally, should
determine who the managers are, but of course what is formal and what is actual may well be
different. This is an analytic typology; in practice natural resources are rarely managed solely
within any one of these types.
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The 'open access' condition is one where resources are the property of no-one and are available
to everyone. It is therefore not strictly a property rights regime at all, nor is it a management regime
since people use, opportunistically, the resources, but do not manage them. A communal property
regime is quite different, even though many scholars confuse the two. Here "use rights for the
resource are controlled by an identifiable group and are not privately owned or managed by
governments; there exist rules concerning who may use the resource, who is excluded from the
resource and how the resource should be used" (Berkes and Farvar, 1988: 10). Thus it is a
management regime, with rules on access to or exclusion from proprietorship of natural resources.
The relative merits of state or private property regimes have occupied centre stage in debates about
natural resource management and have been embedded in, and mystified by. broader ideological
controversies. Proponents of privatized natural resource management have suggested that market
dynamics, coupled with long-term security of tenure, provide the best ingredients for sustainable
utilization and efficient management. Proponents of state management usually rest their case on
equity considerations or collective societal interest in common pool resources. Interestingly, these
two perspectives, so different in their ideological pedigree, now find themselves in a new alliance
orchestrated by state bureaucracies and international agencies and realized in "regulatory
policies, new legal frameworks, project financing, and direct administration" (Korten,1986).
Both private and state natural resource management regimes have their strengths and may be
appropriate for given resources in given contexts. But both have their weaknesses, particularly
if they are under-funded, large-scale and managerially distanced from the resources in question.
In such circumstances the state, or the private owner, purports to be the manager but de fact use
and management are in the hands of others the people living with the resources concerned. Not
only is this local management resource marginalized, it is also antagonized. Bromley and Cernea
comment: "Unfbrtunately most state property regimes are examples of the state's reach exceeding
its grasp.' Many states have taken on far more resource management authority than they can be
expected to carry out effectively. More critically it sets the government against the peasant when,
in fact, successful resource management requires the opposite" (Bromley and Cernea, 1989: 25).
But this can apply to the private property regimes as well. One variant of this approach is to be
found in schemes currently being brokered in the United States and Europe to buy large tracts of
South American rain forest to preserve them for global environmental reasons. An advertisement
to raise funds for such a purchase recently appeared in a California paper replete with a photograph
of a burning forest and the caption "If you own it they can't burn it." Anyone with developing
country experience will be sceptical. Even if this is a ploy to pre-empt other local entrepreneurs
from buying and destroying forest resources it is unlikely that a distanced, foreign owner will be
able to exercise the management that the state has failed to provide because it has marginalized
the management potential of local populations.
One of the central tragedies in the history of Southern African land and natural resource
management is that the debate on tenure has largely been restricted to a discussion of the relative
merit of state or private property regimes. Policy has assumed two options, privatize or
nationalize, ignoring the further option of a communal property regime.
In Zimbabwe, for instance, by 1961 approximately 50% of the total land surface had been alienated
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into private hands. The rest was state land parks, wildlife and forestry lands or communal lands
(37%). In these communal lands, where over 60% of the population live, a system of 'indirect rule'
was in place and traditional leadership structures were supposed to play a role in land and resource
management. But the ability of these traditional structures had been seriously eroded by their
tenure status. They and their constituencies were on state land with usufructural rights only, they
had no powers of exclusion and access to certain natural resources (eg. wildlife) were denied to
them. Thus the conditions for a genuine communal property rights regime were removed. Under
these conditions, and with the state effectively unable to manage resource, resource use tended
to acquire the characteristics of an 'open access' system. It is not surprising therefore that the
communal lands have been the scene of some of the greatest environmental degradation in the
This policy myopia, which sees only privatization or nationalization tenure options, has continued
in the post-1980 independence era. Land reform programmes have taken a further 8% of total land
surface out of private hands for the resettlement of communal land inhabitants, but these
resettlement lands are state lands, and are occupied under tenure conditions which if anything are
more restrictive to a genuine communal property rights regime than in communal lands.
The tragedy of this situation lies in two dimensions. Firstly, neither option will viably address
those areas where most of the rural population lives and which are under the greatest environmental
pressure. Management by the state has demonstrably been ineffective in both the colonial and
post-colonial eras. Whole-scale privatization is administratively cumbersome and would involve
a fragmentation of management to levels where any possible benefits would be negated. Secondly,
a focus on the two options ignores the potential for cost-effective collective local management
enforced by informal social pressure and drawing on detailed local knowledge of ecological
dynamics. Unless policy on tenure and natural resource management seriously considers the third
option of communally-based resource management regimes, there is little reason, either from the
historical record or from an analysis of the factors and dynamics involved, to be optimistic about
the future of the environment.
Serious consideration of this option requires however far more than decentralized administration
or current and trendy plans to 'involve' local people in planning, to encourage their 'participation'
in project implementation and to increase the economic benefits to them arising from resources.
However well intentioned, such plans generally fail to achieve their aims of sustainable natural
resource management and utilization. 'Participation' and 'involvement' turn out to mean the co-
option of local elites and leadership for derived programmes; 'decentralization' turns out to mean
simply the addition of another obstructive administrative layer to the bureaucratic hierarchy which
governs natural resource management.
What is required is the establishment of communal property regimes by defined groups in defined
areas and with rights of inclusion and exclusion. Such groups should have proprietorship of the
natural resources concerned. 'Proprietorship' means a sanctioned use-right, including the right
to decide whether to use the resources at all, the right to determine the mode and extent of their
use, and the right to benefit fully from their exploitation in the way they choose.
The delegation of proprietorship over natural resources to communities involves the relinquish-
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA36
ment of considerable authority and responsibility on the part of the state, although such
relinquishment is never total any more than the privatization of land holdings implies a total
withdrawal of state authority over land. Relinquishment of authority runs however contrary to the
bureaucratic impulse to retain authority centrally and the establishment of communal natural
resource management regimes will require strong policy directives to overcome this tendency.
Managing a Natural Resource: From Analysis to Principles
To translate this general discussion of issues into a policy which is viable for communal property
regimes of natural resource management we need to recognize the principles involved. These may
vary according to the nature of the resource concerned.
* Effective management of natural resources is best achieved by giving it focused value for those
who live with them.
This principle encapsulates the earlier proposition that: "people seek to manage the environment
when the benefits of management are perceived to exceed it's costs" and the earlier discussion on
formal and de facto management.
* Differential inputs must result in differential benefits.
This principle relates to the question, "value for whom?" The answer is "those who have the
resource and pay for its existence." Natural resources assets are distributed unevenly in any
national context; equally the cost of sustaining and managing these assets is unevenly distributed.
Policy must ensure therefore that benefit is directly related to input.
- There must be a positive correlation between quality of management and the magnitude of benefit.
The differential input requiring differential benefit involves not only the assets and costs
mentioned above, it also incorporates management costs, both quantitative and qualitative. A
fundamental policy objective is to provide the motivation for good management, thus policy
should ensure that good management 'pays'.
* The unit of proprietorship should be the unit of production, management and benefit.
Institutionally this is the only structure which can efficiently combine the principles mentioned
earlier. Proprietorship (which answers the question "who decides?") cannot be separated from
production, management and benefit and is a fundamental component in a communal resource
regime. The management prerogatives and responsibilities implied in proprietorship need not
conflict with any larger structures of management activity. Such structures are necessary because
of the nature of natural resources, but should be primarily coordinative and regulatory.
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* The unit ofproprietorship should be as small as practicable, within ecological and socio-political
From a social dynamics perspective scale is an important consideration; large-scale structures
tend to be ineffective, increasing the potential for inefficiency, corruption and the evasion of
responsibility. Conversely, a communal resource management regime is enhanced if it is small
enough (in membership size) for all members to be in occasional face-to-face contact, enforce
conformity to rules through peer pressure and has a long-standing collective identity.
Managing a Natural Resource: Wildlife Policy and Practice in
Zimbabwe's Communal Lands
This section describes an attempt to put the principles outlined above into policy and practice,
using the Zimbabwean experience in wildlife utilization as an example.
The growth of the wildlife industry in Zimbabwe had its impetus in the 1975 Parks and Wild Life
Act which conferred proprietorship of wildlife resources on the "owners or occupiers of alienated
land." These owners or occupiers are designated 'appropriate authorities' for wildlife on their
land, with rights to decide on whether to use wildlife, the mode of this use and to benefit fully from
the revenues of this use. The positive impact of the 1975 Act on both the state of wildlife
populations on commercial farm land and the national economy is readily apparent. In the last
15 years Zimbabwe has developed a game ranching industry second to none in Africa and which
contributes significantly to the national economy. The conferment of wildlife proprietorship on
land owners has also demonstrated that wildlife can be a highly competitive and environmentally
sound form of land use, evidenced by the large number of ranchers who have turned from exclusive
livestock regimes to mixed wildlife/livestock or exclusive wildlife modes of utilizing their land.
It should be noted that principles discussed in the previous section are all incorporated in the
position provided for land owners under the Act, and that the growth of wildlife industry in
Zimbabwe can largely be attributed to the fact that policy and legislation incorporates these
Enacted during the pre-independence era the 1975 Parks and Wildlife Act was targeted at the
"owners and occupiers of alienated land." It was clearly radically discriminatory since it
benefitted large-scale land owners and occupiers almost all of them white, and did not provide the
same opportunity to the black occupiers of communal land. Much of this land, particularly that
in the drier areas, held valuable populations of wildlife and high potential for the incorporation
of wildlife into productive forms of land use. Government (through the Department of National
Parks and Wild Life Management) remained the controlling authority for wildlife in communal
lands, policy being that revenues accrued by government from safari hunting in communal lands
were to be returned to district councils for community projects in producer areas through an
extended chain of bureaucratic procedures.
The result was an almost total failure to receive community support for wildlife-related activities.
Procedural complexity and bureaucratic inertia resulted in a situation where only a portion of
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revenues generated were returned to producer districts and far less of this was returned to producer
communities. That revenue which did survive the attrition of this process was seen by local
inhabitants not as a product of their management but rather as a hand-out from government, the
magnitude of which was attributable not to their husbandry of the resource but rather the strength
of their complaints about the inconveniences of wildlife. The links between production and
benefit, input and outcomes, was neither direct nor clear.
The CAMPFIRE Programme
Recognizing that its policy on wildlife was having positive effects on private lands but not in
communal lands. Government since Independence has approached the problem by further legal
change and the introduction of the CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Programme for
Indigenous Resources) Programme. Amendments to the Act made provision for the Minister to
designate district councils as the appropriate authority for wildlife on lands under their respon-
sibility. granting them the rights and responsibilities accorded to the owners or occupiers of
alienated land, under such conditions as might be appropriate. The CAMPFIRE Programme
sought to use this legislative change to put in place the principles outlined above. The programme
started with pilot schemes in the conferment of appropriate authority status on two district
councils, Guruve and Nyaminyami. Initial success was followed by the inclusion of other district
councils; by January 1991 twelve district councils had achieved appropriate authority status.
Wildlife revenues accruing to district councils now exceeds Z$600,000 per annum in some
instances, providing an increase in direct revenues for these councils by a factor of four. From
a district council perspective the programme is a great success, and the councils concerned have
formed themselves into a national association of CAMPFIRE district councils to lobby for their
interests at the political centre.
In spite of the demonstrated success of CAMPFIRE in devolving proprietorship of wildlife
resources from central government to district councils a fundamental discrepancy remains
between the law (the statutory delegation of proprietorship) and the principle (combining
production, management, authority and benefit). The Act delegates proprietorship and the
responsibility which goes with it to district councils. But they are not the producers or on-the-
ground managers of wildlife; these are producer communities within council areas, which differ
from one another in resource endowment, quality of management and production. Thus we do
not yet have the formal combination of production, management, authority and benefit necessary
for an effective community based regime of resource management. Under such conditions,
councils have a tendency to retain authority, management and benefit, relegating to producer
communities the function of production. There are several reasons for this, including the
bureaucratic impulse to retain authority, the necessity for councils to raise revenues and the fact
that councils do not trust local communities to make the right decisions.
Some councils have, however, grasped the importance of the principles involved and have taken
steps further to delegate proprietorship to local levels. Two success stories are now briefly related
to demonstrate the dynamics of successful implementation of decentralized natural resource
management. They are the stories of how two small communities in Zimbabwe have developed
as "institutions for resource management."
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Communities as Institutions for Resource Management:
Two Success Stories
The first is the story of the Kanyurira community, a ward in the Zambezi Valley falling under the
jurisdiction of the Guruve District Council. The ward is geographically large (400 square
kilometres) but small in human population, with only 60 households (482 people) being present
in 1988. The area is rich in wildlife and for many years has been exploited by professional safari
hunters. But before the introduction of the CAMPFIRE programme revenues from this
exploitation were channelled to Central Treasury, local people only benefitting from wildlife
through non-sanctioned hunting and snaring. Attitudes towards wildlife were almost completely
negative; it was a hazard to life and crops should be eliminated. The community's aspirations were
centred on gaining more goods and services from government a school, a clinic and better roads
to market their one cash crop, cotton. Its strategy was to encourage new settlers, who would be
placed on the perimeter of settlement (thus taking the brunt of wildlife damage to crops) and giving
the community greater leverage in its requests to government.
In December 1988 the district council, using revenues from safari hunting in the previous year,
built a school for the community. Although this was not a full delegation of proprietorship, being
more in the nature of a hand-out, its impact on community attitudes was significant. Wildlife was
now seen as having significant economic value, to be nurtured rather than eliminated. "We see
now," said one elder, "that these buffalo are our cattle." Furthermore the event revived a
proprietorial attitude towards the ward's natural resources which had long lain dormant. A wildlife
committee was formed, which soon moved into land use planning. Twenty square kilometres were
set aside for fields and settlement, to be surrounded by an electric fence. The rest of the ward was
to be set aside for wildlife, harvested sustainably through safari hunting and patrolled by game
scouts from the community.
In February 1990 the district council distributed 1989 revenues from the safari operation which
covered the area including Kanyurira, using the site of animals taken on quota as the basis of
distribution. On this basis Kanyurira received by far the largest share Z$47,000. Ths revenue
was allocated to a fund for the clinic, the purchase of the school furniture and a dividend to each
household of Z$200, equivalent to an additional 56% of annual gross income from cotton, the
community's main cash crop. The impact of the household dividend was profound. Internally
the community had to make searching decisions as to who constituted households; externally the
community examined much more critically any applications for membership by aspiring
immigrants. The importance of rules of inclusion and exclusion had become clear. Issues relating
to modes of marketing in the modern context were also more sharply delineated in community
The district council had, as one aspect of its utilization strategy, instituted a cropping scheme to
provide meat to villages in the safari area, believing that the way to people's minds was through
their stomachs. Kanyurira rejected this scheme for its area; they recognized that the value of an
impala sold to a safari client was far higher than that sold for meat to local inhabitants. The
importance of good management for maintaining the resource was also heightened in local
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perceptions. Poaching by community members was virtually eliminated during 1990. The snaring
of an animal was no longer tolerated as individual and entrepreneurial defiance of state regulation,
it was now theft from the community and from one's neighbours since it would reduce the amount
of household dividends. The importance of preserving habitat became clearer; in 1990 for the first
time in many years destructive late dry-season bush fires did not occur.
At the same time the community has become increasingly aggressive in its claims for full
proprietorship. When it had developed its land use plan the community had charged its councillor
and wildlife committee chairman with the task of taking the plan to the council for approval with
these words: "Tell them that these are our animals and these are our plans. We will not accept
any changes imposed by others." The community also is demanding a full and detailed accounting
from the council and safari operator of species take-offs and revenues generated. This has been
accompanied by a realization that the community itself will have to improve its own wildlife
monitoring and financial record keeping. Thus the importance of accountability of council to
community and community leadership to community membership -has been stressed.
Beit Bridge Community
Kanyurira is an example of a community developing its resource management in an exploratory
and evolutionary way and in a context where the district council, while committed to the
CAMPFIRE programme, has been cautious and sometimes inconsistent in delegating its authority.
The second example is of the Chikwarakwara community in the Beitbridge council area, where
the council, on receiving appropriate authority status in January 1991, determined to immediately
and fully implement CAMPFIRE principles. Using accumulated safari hunting revenues for the
1990 and previous seasons (Z$96,000), council decided on an allocation according to production
by producer communities which resulted in a payment to Chikwarakwara of Z$60,000, where most
of the safari hunting had occurred.
The introduction of the CAMPFIRE programme in Beitbridge was recent and without the
evolutionary development which occurred in Guruve. The value of this case study primarily lies
in its demonstration of how in a compressed time-frame of three months, between January and
March 1991, a district council and a community worked through and put in place the institutional
framework necessary to implement the CAMPFIRE principles. The case study is particularly
instructive in demonstrating the competence of a district council and a local community to create
an 'everyone benefits' situation in the use of common property assets while retaining the principle
of differential input/differential benefit. Council benefitted, since it retained an 11.7% levy
(Z$11,235) agreed to by all parties. The safari industry benefitted since a programme was being
put in place which would ensure that the wildlife resource on which it depended would be
maintained. Government benefitted since its acquisition of taxes and hard currency from the safari
industry would similarly be maintained. The Chikwarakwara community benefitted because it
was now receiving real value for its wildlife resources in proportion to the inputs involved and other
communities benefitted through the stimulus to similarly develop their wildlife resources.
The Chikwarakwara example is however most interesting in its illustration of decisions made
within the community regarding the use of wildlife revenues. As in Kanyurira, these revenues
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forced answers to a prior question who were the members of the community? Criteria for
membership (by household) having been decided, 149 households were listed and the determina-
tion made that each household would be credited with $400. The community then debated over
several sessions the relative merits of using this money for collective community projects, or for
individual household revenue. The result was a compromise, as wise decisions often are.
Households were to receive individual dividends; if wildlife was to be a major form of economic
activity in the community this was necessary for the livelihood of its people. But certain collective
community concerns also demanded attention. These were identified as a grinding mill, a school
project, and the fact that community members were in arrears in payment for the school building
funds. The grinding mill, being a new community project, demanded a new institution. Who
would manage it? A committee was formed, it being agreed that the mill would be operated as
a community business with all the community members owning shares in it.
These decisions were given immediate, clear and ostensible effect at a community meeting held
in March 1991. The impact of this meeting is best summarized in verbatim quotes from speeches
made at the ceremony. From the district administrator we have these words: "We have not realized
our richness. We have not seen where our advantages lie. We are learning and you here are
leading the way. It is our wild animals who are our resources. I used to come here and be told
wildlife was a problem. Poaching was kept under the blanket. Now we are here to celebrate
wildlife and bring everything into the open for everyone's benefit." Councillor Nhare said the
following: "This money comes to you from your wildlife. It is your money. The decision is yours.
You cannot wait for government. You can develop your own community according to how you
These brief descriptions of the Kanyurira and Chikwarakwara case studies do not do justice to the
full range of issues involved. They do not discuss the details of implementation or adequately
stress the importance of close collaboration between government, communities, private sector
enterprise and NGO actors. Neither have they stressed the variety of problems which are generated
by change and success. But they do illustrate that the principles behind CAMPFIRE are sound,
and that communities, given the opportunity to do so, can develop as effective institutions for
natural resource management.
Communal Resource Management: Some Concluding
This paper has argued that resource management is a complex affair and that the nature of the
resource involved, the nature of the tenure system concerned and the motivational dynamics which
operate create different dynamics which must be considered when considering institutions of
management. There is no single formula for all these equations. The discussion has primarily been
concerned with the management of common property resources in communal conditions. This
can be summarized under three headings:
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Communal Contexts and Communal Resource Management Regimes
For most of the rural populations of southern Africa the communal context is the context of life
and will be so for the foreseeable future. People live on state land, not private land, and in
conditions where the state is incapable of sustainable resource management and local inhabitants
have neither the motivation nor the authority to sustainably manage resources themselves. The
mischief arises from a fundamental misconception which equates the communal context with the
communal property regime. The communal contexts created by colonialism are not communal
property regimes, since they have been stripped of the necessary entitlements required. The
evidence is that communities can become effective institutions for sustainable resource manage-
ment, but only if they are granted genuine proprietorship, that is, the right to use resources,
determine the mode of usage, benefit fully from their use, determine the distribution of such
benefits and determine rules of access. Any policy which excludes these components will frustrate
the goal of making communities effective institutions for resource management.
Resource Management and Resource Use
Resource use without resource management is non-sustainable. But equally any attempt to
establish resource management without resource use is likely to be futile. A first principle stated
in this paper was that "people seek to manage the environment when the benefits of management
are perceived to exceed its costs." We can carry this further and suggest that in modem rural
Africa, even in its remotest areas, benefit is most often seen in the peoples' thought as revenue,
cash income convertible into the various goods and services that communities and individuals
want or need. Benefit is if course not only this, but much development thinking seems to assume
that what rural peoples need and want is restricted to subsistence maintenance. Contrast this with
the succinct definition given by a villager in Kanyurira. "Development," he said, "means money."
This is a more accurate description of rural African perceptions of development. Not only does
it properly reflect the pervasive reach of the "cash economy", it also puts benefit in the form of
revenue which can be flexibly used according to peoples' own priorities, and which forces them
to build their own institutions of fiscal management which articulate within the larger economies
of which they are a part. Cash, as they say, is the most effective development extension agent.
There is a strategic lesson to this. If we are concerned to promote communally based
environmental management, chances of success are enhanced when a common property resource
of high financial value is available and project focus is initially on the sustainable exploitation of
that resource. In Zimbabwe this resource has been wildlife, a resource of high and escalating value,
exploitable in environmentally benign ways and requiring relatively low capital inputs. As Child
puts it, "Real and immediate benefits, graphically illustrated by cash, cement the relationship
between wildlife and economic development. These incentives are crucial to encourage
communities to cultivate their wildlife resources" (Child and Peterson, 1991: 41). Initial and
dramatic results in revenue generation of this kind then have an incremental effect on the quality
of the community's management of other, less lucrative, natural resources. If people receive
revenue from wildlife, they will also start to manage their woodland and their soils, as the
Kanyurira case study demonstrates. Ecological holism is not a new concept for rural African
peoples, it is simply a concept that their circumstances have not allowed them to apply.
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Resource Management and Institution Building
Communities under the right circumstances, can be effective institutions for resource manage-
ment. The obverse is also true. The management of common property resources can act as a
powerful catalyst for communal institutional development in modem rural African conditions.
This is particularly the case if the potential resources concerned have significant revenue-
generating potential and are thus central to community development aspirations. For too long
'community development' has been conceptualised in Africa as an extension to local levels of
central government institutions. The examples of Kanyurira and Chikwarakwara are examples
of something different; a demand-driven institution building, the demand being local economic
interest and the necessity of creating institutional structures to manage common property and
balance individual and collective interest. As Peterson states, "CAMPFIRE is not just a wildlife
programme, it is not even just an economic development programme based on wildlife. Ultimately
it is a people and institution development programme based on the sustainable production of
wildlife" (Child and Peterson, 1991; 86-87).
Thus resource management and local institutional development are mutually reinforcive. The
topic of this paper is centrally relevant to environmental concerns. It is equally relevant to
governance in rural Africa. If this is realized, the crucial links between ecology and politics,
between environment and development, stand a better chance of being incorporated into policies
Berkes, F. and M. Taghi Farvar. 1988. Introduction and Overview. In: F. Berkes (ed). Common
Property Resources. London, Belhaven Press
Bromley, D.W. and M.M. Cernea. 1988. The Management of Common Property Natural
Resources and Some Conceptual and Operational Fallacies. Washington: The World Bank.
World Bank Discussion Papers, No. 57
Child, B. and J.H. Peterson. 1991. Campfire in Rural Development: The Beitbridge Experience.
Harare: DNPWLM/CASS Working Paper
Korten, F.P. 1986. The policy framework for community management. In: D. Korten (ed).
Community Management: Asian Experiences and Perspectives. Kumarian Press
Murphree, M.W. 1990. Decentralising the Proprietorship of Wild Life Resources in Zimbabwe's
Communal Lands. Harare: CASS, U.Z. (forthcoming chapter in Africanizing Conservation in
Africa, N. Carter and D. Lewis (eds.))
Zimbabwe Trust. 1990. People, Wildlife and Natural Resources the CAMPFIRE Approach to
Rural Development in Zimbabwe. Harare: Zimbabwe Trust.
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5. The Blue-Baby Syndrome and Nitrogen Fertilisers: A High Risk in the Tropics? 1988. J.N. Pretty and G.R.
6. Glossary of Selected Terms in Sustainable Agriculture. 1988. J.A. McCracken and J.N. Pretty.
7. Glossary of Selected Terms in Sustainable Economic Development. 1988. E.B. Barbier and J.A. McCracken.
8. Internal Resources for Sustainable Agriculture. 1988. C.A. Francis.
9. Wildlife Working for Sustainable Development. 1988. B. Dalal-Clayton.
10. Indigenous Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. 1988. D.M. Warren and K. Cashman.
11. Agriculture as a Global Polluter. 1989. Jules N. Pretty and G.R. Conway.
12. Evolution of Agricultural Research and Development Since 1950: Toward an Integrated Framework. 1989. Robert
13. Crop-Livestock Interactions for Sustainable Agriculture. 1989. Wolfgang Bayer and Ann Waters-Bayer
14. Perspectives in Soil Erosion in Africa: Whose Problem? 1989. M. Fones-Sondell.
15. Sustainability in Agricultural Development Programmes: The Approach of USAID. 1989. Robert O. Blake.
16. Participation by Farmers, Researchers and Extension Workers in Soil Conservation. 1989. Sam Fujisaka.
17. Development Assistance and the Environment: Translating Intentions into Practice. 1989. Marianne Wenning.
18. Energy for Livelihoods: Putting People Back into Africa's Woodfuel Crisis. 1989. Robin Meams and
19. Crop Variety Mixtures in Marginal Environments. 1990. Janice Jiggins
20. Displaced Pastoralists and Transferred Wheat Technology in Tanzania. 1990. Charles Lane and Jules N. Pretty.
21. Teaching Threatens Sustainable Agriculture. 1990. Raymond I. Ison.
22. Microenvironments Unobserved. 1990. Robert Chambers.
23. Low Input Soil Restoration in Honduras: the Cantarranas Farmer-to-Farmer Extension Programme. 1990.
24. Rural Common Property Resources: A Growing Crisis. 1991. N.S. Jodha
25. Participatory Education and Grassroots Development: The Case of Rural Appalachia. 1991.
John Gaventa and Helen Lewis
26. Farmer Organisations in Ecuador: Contributions to Farmer First Research and Development. 1991. A. Bebbington
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA 36
27. Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation in Africa. 1991. Chris Reij
28. Tree Products in Agroecosystems: Economic and Policy Issues. 1991. J.E.M. Arnold
29. Designing Integrated Pest Management for Sustainable and Productive Futures. 1991. Michel P. Pimbert
30. Plants, Genes and People: Improving the Relevance of Plant Breeding. 1991. Angelique Hangerud and Michael
31. Local Institutions and Participation for Sustainable Development. 1992. Norman Uphoff.
32. The Information Drain: Obstacles to Research in Africa. 1992. Mamman Aminu Ibrahim.
33. Local Agro-Processing with Sustainable Technology: Sunflowerseed Oil in Tanzania. 1992. Eric Hyman.
34. Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation in India's Semi-Arid Tropics. 1992. John Kerr and N.K. Sanghi.
35. Prioritizing Institutional Development: A New Role for NGO Centres for Study and Development. 1992. Alan
36. Communities as Resource Management Institutions. 1993. Marshall W. Murphree.
37. Livestock, Nutrient Cycling and Sustainable Agriculture in the West African Sahel. 1993. J.M. Powell and T.O.
38. O.K., the Data's Lousy, But It's All We've Got (Being a Critique of Conventional Methods). 1993. Gerard G.
39. Homegarden Systems: Agricultural Characteristics and Challenges. 1993. Inge D. Hoogerbrugge and Louise
40. Opportunities for Expanding Water Harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of the Teras of Kassala. 1993.
Johan A. Van Dijk and Mohamed Hassan Ahmed.
41. Living in a Fragile Ecosystem: Indigenous Soil Management in the Hills of Nepal. 1993. Devika Tamang.
Copies of these papers are available from the Sustainable Agriculture Programme, IIED, London
(2.50 each inc. p and p).
GATEKEEPER SERIES NO. SA 36
The Sustainable Agriculture Programme
The Sustainable Agriculture Programme of IIED promotes
and supports the development of socially and environ-
mentally aware agriculture through research, training,
advocacy, networking and information dissemination.
The Programme emphasises close collaboration and con-
sultation with a wide range of institutions in the South.
Collaborative research projects are aimed at identifying
the constraints and potentials of the livelihood strategies
of the Third World poor who are affected by ecological,
economic and social change. These initiatives focus on
indigenous knowledge and resource management; par-
ticipatory planning and development; and agroecology
and resource conserving agriculture.
The refinement and application of Participatory Rural
Appraisal methods is an area of special emphasis. The
Programme is a leader in the training of individuals from
government and non-government organizations in the
application of these methods.
The Programme supports the exchange of field experi-
ences and research through a range of formal and informal
publications, including RRA Notes, aimed at practitioners
of Rapid and Participatory Rural Appraisal, and the Gate-
keeper Series, briefing papers aimed at policy makers. It
receives funding from the Swedish International Develop-
ment Authority, the Ford Foundation, and other diverse
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