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Community-based management in two biosphere reserves in Madagascar – distinctions and similarities: What can be learned from different approaches?

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Author(s): Fritz-Vietta, N. V. M. | Röttger, C. | Stoll-Kleemann, S.

Journal: Madagascar Conservation & Development
ISSN 1662-2510

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 86;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Community-based natural resource management | biosphere reserve | decentralization | informal institutions | local associations | Madagascar | social capital

ABSTRACT
This article explores the socio - cultural aspects of community - based management of natural resources in Madagascar. The contractual devolution of management rights and responsibilities to local user groups constitutes an important instrument in the country’s environmental policy. Its challenges and opportunities are investigated through a case study that scrutinizes two biosphere reserves: Mananara - Nord at the northeast, and Sahamalaza at the northwest coast of Madagascar. While Mananara is relatively well established, having successfully realized more than twenty management transfers, implementation in Sahamalaza is still in its infancy. Comparing both sites allows for drawing a picture of major factors that influence the success of this instrument. Data was gathered using a qualitative social research approach based on interviews and participatory rural appraisal. A conceptual framework integrating informal institutions and the concept of social capital was used to better understand socio - cultural dynamics within rural communities. The paper presents the characteristics of both sites andexplores trad tional natural resource use, local associations, and their role in collective action, as well as customary institutional arrangements. The results provide insight into strengthening local management capacities and cooperation. They also highlight the need to leverage local knowledge and to reconcile the different formal and informal rules for active and responsible involvement of concerned community members in sustainable resource management.

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