The effects of governance type and scale on community conservation in Southern Africa

Authors: Tierney Shimansky*, University of Florida
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Africa, Environment
Keywords: community conservation, natural resource management, governance
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Community based natural resource management (CBNRM) links communities where livelihoods depend on the natural environment to the governance, management and use of natural resource and wildlife. Despite the agreement on the importance of CBNRM, performance is often disappointing, often related to emerging issues of governance, participation and equitable benefit sharing. This study assesses the importance of Ostrom and Murphree’s call for inclusive decision making of all people impacted by the decisions through face-to-face participatory governance structure in small communities like villages. We examine how much indicators of governance (e.g. trust of leaders with money, general opinion about governance, use of money for community benefits versus other uses) vary, and how this variability is affected by the enabling environment (i.e. country), community size, and type of governance (i.e. participatory versus representational). We expect to find that governance, participation, and revenue sharing are better in smaller communities than larger communities. Chi-squared and logistic regression models are used to analyze data from “governance dashboard surveys” from seventeen CBNRM communities in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe that include both small village and multi-village communities. Preliminary findings support the hypothesis that variability is affected by factors such as country, community size, type of governance and overall satisfaction with the community based organization. The results from this study can be used to design CBNRM organizations and processes more effectively, suggesting that participatory practices that are possible in small communities provide significant advantages in terms of financial transparency, social capital formation (trust), participation, and member satisfaction.

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