Participatory forest management in conservation areas: the case of Cwebe, South Africa

Participatory forest management in conservation areas: the case of Cwebe, South Africa

South Africa, influenced by global trends towards good governance and sustainable
natural resource management, has begun to adopt a participatory management
approach to state-owned indigenous forests. This study, in a remote communal area
and State Forest in the Eastern Cape, sought to understand the importance of forest
products to local users, together with the relationships between key stakeholders and
institutions involved in use and management of State Forest resources. The importance
of the Reserve in local peoples’ livelihood strategies was clearly revealed but, in the
absence of a functional, locally legitimate management body, the Reserve is being over
exploited, with local villagers and outsiders capitalizing on low forest rents and lack of
enforcement of rules. A de facto open access system is therefore in place. Intensive
institution-building is necessary for any participatory management system to be
successful, including provisions to: transfer power to the community management body
clearly and without ambiguity – if necessary, providing a role within it for the traditional
leadership; provide the community management body with adequate financial and other
resources; assist the community management body to draw up management plans;
propagate and enforce regulations; and support the management body to enable it to
provide effective, acceptable monitoring of forest use and regulation.

Authors: Grundy, I.M.; Campbell, B.M.; White, R.M.; Prabhu, R.; Jensen, S.; Ngamile, T.N.

Topic: forest management,participation,community involvement,forest conservation,governance,institutions

Geographic: Southern Africa,South Africa

Publication Year: 2004

ISSN: 1472-8028

Source: Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 14(2-4): 149-165

DOI: 10.1080/14728028.2004.9752489

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