NGOs today, as part of civil society, have come to play a prominent role in South Asia in the context of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). This book examines the theory and practice of NGO-driven CBNRM within the framework of emerging critiques of dominant discourses of development, the micro-politics of decentralization, and the projection of community development. The book breaks new ground by situating these critiques within six detailed cases of CBNRM initiatives.

To what extent does CBNRM continue to offer a vision for the future and what role, if any, could NGOs play in this? The authors attempt to answer this question by seeking to understand the ideas and insights of CBNRM that intervening agencies bring with them and by examining the outcomes of the interventions and the strategies used to achieve them.

The book concludes that though these CBNRM efforts have made significant contributions to livelihood enhancement, the results gained are limited in collective action for sustainable and equitable access to benefits, continuing resource use, and in terms of democratic decentralization.



Our interest in CBNRM in general and NGO-driven CBNRM in particular was sparked by the potential for ‘alternative’ development that both the idea of CBNRM and an earlier set of such experiments seemed to offer. We were, however, also cognisant of the fact that critiques existed that questioned the discourse and practice of CBNRM and the increasing ‘mainstreaming’ of NGO-driven CBNRM. While these critiques served as the background of our study, we felt the need for a more detailed enquiry (given the relative scarcity of such studies) that engaged more rigorously with both the making and working of CBNRM and captured more of the diversity of NGO/civil society initiatives.1 In this enquiry into CBNRM in South Asia, therefore, we chose to focus on initiatives ...

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