Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 52–66

Key Principles of Community-Based Natural Resource Management: A Synthesis and Interpretation of Identified Effective Approaches for Managing the Commons


DOI: 10.1007/s00267-008-9235-y

Cite this article as:
Gruber, J.S. Environmental Management (2010) 45: 52. doi:10.1007/s00267-008-9235-y


This article examines recent research on approaches to community-based environmental and natural resource management and reviews the commonalities and differences between these interdisciplinary and multistakeholder initiatives. To identify the most effective characteristics of Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), I collected a multiplicity of perspectives from research teams and then grouped findings into a matrix of organizational principles and key characteristics. The matrix was initially vetted (or “field tested”) by applying numerous case studies that were previously submitted to the World Bank International Workshop on CBNRM. These practitioner case studies were then compared and contrasted with the findings of the research teams. It is hoped that the developed matrix may be useful to researchers in further focusing research, understanding core characteristics of effective and sustainable CBNRM, providing practitioners with a framework for developing new CBNRM initiatives for managing the commons, and providing a potential resource for academic institutions during their evaluation of their practitioner-focused environmental management and leadership curriculum.


Community-based environmental initiativesCommunity-based natural resource managementEnvironmental curriculumInterdisciplinary ProcessSocial ecologic systemsThe Commons

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Studies, Antioch New England InstituteAntioch University New EnglandKeeneUSA