Evaluation and use of economic incentives in the sustainable management of communally owned natural resources, the CAMPFIRE experience

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Sangarwe, Margaret
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Historically, sparse populations and abundance of natural resources has meant little attention given to the regulation of natural resources. However, as populations grew and technology improved, pressure on natural resources has increased, often leading to resource degradation. Attention has been focused on the management of both privately-owned resources and common property resources. It has been realised that the economic incentives and local involvement in the management of the resources can promote long-term conservation of the resource. This study seeks to find out whether incentives work to encourage better management of natural resources. An examination of the CAMPFIRE project in Zimbabwe was the focus of the study with particular attention given to the Dande Communcal Area of Guruve. The analysis extensively used secondary data as well as responses from selected interviews of key people involved with CAMPFIRE at national and local level. Although it was difficult to link benefits and changing attitudes, in wards where the benefits were substantive, local people regarded wildlife as an asset. The opposite situation pertained in wards with low income from CAMPFIRE. Apart from economic incentives, social incentives were also considered important for the sustainability of CAMPFIRE. The potential for CAMPFIRE as an important incentive for natural resources management and a rural development model was acknowledged. It was however, recommended that there is the need to increase income base for CAMPFIRE and promote local empowerment among other recommendations.