, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 369-398

The practice and principles of community-based wildlife management in Zimbabwe: the CAMPFIRE programme

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Abstract

This paper describes Zimbabwe's wildlife-based CAMPFIRE programme. It suggests that community-based natural resource management is a potential solution to the inter-linked problems of poverty and conservation if it is based on sound management principles that also incorporate transparency, accountability and democracy because the unit of management is a community.

This first section suggests that many of the causes of these natural resource problems in communal lands are a result of the failure of mechanisms to price and allocate resources efficiently. The second section describes the evolution of CAMPFIRE, while the third section summarizes the principles that underpin the programme. The fourth section discusses the governance of natural resources and describes the process by which rights to wildlife have been devolved. This emphasizes how important political and administrative systems are to wildlife conservation. CAMPFIRE can be viewed as a five-step process: getting an enabling political, legal, administrative and economic environment; creating awareness and a demand for the programme; generating revenues; using these revenues effectively; and, finally, setting in place the institutions and capacity for locally-based natural resource management. The first four sections of the paper deal with step on — the enabling environment, what it is and how it came about. The final section describes the actual implementation of the programme and is rather brief.