A systemic approach for assessing community-based natural resource management : a case study of the Kafue Flats, Zambia.
This dissertation seeks to expose through a systemic approach the complexity and centrality of governance in community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). This is premised on the hypothesis that an appreciation of this complexity and of drawing analytic distinctions between governance and management is necessary for successful interventions. The study adopts community-based environmental governance (CBEG) as the core heuristic variable in a conceptual framework for analysing CBNRM. The application of this framework generates empirical evidence concerning CBNRM processes adopted in the Kafue Flats socio-biophysical system. It is illustrated that CBNRM processes are established and implemented in a complex context. It is observed that social actors on the Kafue Flats usually do not constructively understand and appreciate this complexity. Several examples are demonstrated in which the thinking and actions of these actors reflect a limited conceptual framework of systems thinking and the inherent complexity in CBNRM. It is illustrated that these actors do not appreciate that CBNRM is a significant component of the governance of natural resource utilisation. This lack of appreciation is essentially identified as a contributing factor to poor performance. Ultimately, CBNRM processes are not only about sustainable use of natural resources; but also the nature and quality of relationships amongst social actors in CBEG. By drawing attention to these relationships, this study broadens our understanding of what goes into CBNRM processes. The implications of ignoring these relationships can be detrimental to the success of CBNRM. Accordingly, the establishment of productive CBNRM systems depends on how firmly CBEG issues and concerns are incorporated into CBNRM analyses and operations. Evidently, CBNRM cannot be pragmatically pursued in rigid socio-biophysical settings. It requires systemic and structural changes in the socio-political, economic and cultural mechanisms of CBEG. Thus, all cooperating partners, governments included, should accept that CBEG and CBNRM are inseparable. This understanding necessitates them to spearhead CBEG capacity building schemes at international, national and local levels.