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There has been a move to decentralize natural resource management (NRM) throughout southern Africa but this has taken many forms, resulting in different organizational structures. Fourteen case studies from eight countries can be classed into four types, depending on the key organizations for NRM: district-level organizations; village organizations supported by sectoral departments (e.g. Village Forest Committees); organizations or authorities outside the state hierarchy (e.g. traditional authority, residents' associations), and corporate organizations at the village level (e.g. Trusts, conservancies, property associations). Attitudes towards district-level schemes amongst local people are generally negative. The greater the authority village organizations receive the more likely they are to succeed. In the cases of corporate organizations, local residents have received user or proprietary rights over resources. Such cases indicate the best chances of community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) being successful. The impact of private sector stakeholders can be positive or negative depending on the institutional arrangements in place. Many of the cases have demonstrated the key role that external facilitation plays in building the capacity of local organizations. Traditional leaders have continued to play a role in NRM, with varying degrees of authority and control.
The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 36 (1+ 2) 2002, pp. 5-12