Managing wild renewable resources through local communities

Improving wildlife management by local communities
Husbanding community ecological resources
Establishing community-based wildlife management systems
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends improving rural income and employment through promoting and supporting eco-tourism and the management of wildlife, including farming, and encouraging and supporting the husbandry and cultivation of wild species, thus ensuring economic and social benefits without harmful ecological impacts.

Excluding communities from managing local renewable resources may lead to mismanagement and abuse of those resources. Awarding its property rights, land tenure and stewardship to the local community can provide strong incentives to manage those resources sustainably. By the same token, communities can benefit from revenues earned if renewable resources are successfully managed. This can be particularly the case with indigenous peoples and other groups with a long "attachment and understanding" to a particular area.

In the humid tropics, traditional agriculture is based on natural resource management, and agricultural ideology reflects a concern for managing natural processes. Natural resource management is not an activity separable from how people make a living. While natural resource management is generally taken to mean the focused management of particular naturally occurring useful items such as wild game, water, soil, minerals, and timber producing trees, tropical peoples focus on processes not items; items are seen to be the result of processes. Agricultural structures, agricultural 'scripts', and the agricultural knowledge of individuals reflect an ideological stance that natural processes are agricultural resources. Examples from two neotropical farming groups, the Bora of the Peruvian Amazon and the Huastec of Mexico, support this thesis. This agricultural ideology is different from the agricultural ideology outside observers bring with them. By focusing on agroecosystems from a temporal perspective, outsiders can better appreciate the knowledge of traditional farmers. Agronomists and foresters may develop new strategies for the humid tropics not only by taking traditional knowledge into account but also by adopting the traditional farmers' attitude that the natural processes are valuable resources.
There is a growing recognition that a community's rights to ownership and tenure of wildlife resources is integral to sustainable wildlife management. Wildlife management will only be sustainable ecologically, socially and economically if it can be made sufficiently attractive to local communities for them to adopt the practice as a long-term livelihood strategy.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies