What does community based natural resource management (CBNRM) mean for Mozambique's poor?Through the case study of Derre Forest Reserve in Zambezia province, this paper explores the theory and practice of CBNRM, an approach which has been widely promoted in southern Africa, and is central to elements of the Mozambican forestry and wildlife policy of 1999.The paper examines the history of community involvement in forest use in the reserve, and the changing nature of local organisations. It asks whether CBNRM:devolves control over the resources to usersensures users participation in the design and implementation of policies and development initiativesleads to the adoption of sustainable use practices and control by those who use the resourcesleads to exercising democracy at lower levelskeeps away elites, or whether they are able to hijack the powersresults in different actors interacting differently in the processThe paper finds that:any major impact of CBNRM in improving livelihoods of the people is still a myththe process and pace of CBNRM is too slow to produce any short-term significant impactovercoming the constraints of the very limited rights in protected areas has to be achieved before the Derre community can expect any gains from participating in a CBNRM systemthere is a danger that devolution of power will be to the wrong level and to an unrepresentative entity, as local elites can easily hijack the processone route to increasing the benefits to local people has been the through joint ventures with private sector players, though the experience has been mixed, as has the functioning of local organisationsthe degree to which the emerging organisational arrangements are legitimate and inclusionary is questionable, as membership fees potentially exclude many poorer community membersThe paper concludes that:rights must be secured in an area of primary state jurisdictionthe community must become aware of their rights under the Forestry and Wildlife and Land laws in order to take the lead in forming an institution that truly represents themfinancially viable enterprises should be adopted in order to ensure long-term investmentthere are some policy gaps that have to be looked at regarding the rights of access for communities living in and around protected areasa rural development approach has to be adopted in order to change the household economy in Derrethe issue of community representation has to be resolved and the beneficiaries of income-generating activities should not be restricted to the members of the associationadequate land use planning is essential to avoid implementation of conflicting land uses such as harvesting forests for wood or for expansion of agricultural practices for cash crops and bee keeping
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