Community Based Natural Resource Management is a process whereby local people and communities organize themselves and play a central role in identifying their resources and their development priorities, and in implementing natural resources management activities. It evolved from the participatory development paradigm which sees people as both the means and end of the development process. As such, CBNRM is often contraposed to the government-centred or top-down approach wherein government officials and agencies take on the lead role in formulating policies, choosing appropriate management technologies and implementing natural resources management programs. The community-based approach rests on the premise that people who actually use a given resource, and who gain first-hand knowledge of such resource from their daily interaction with the natural environment, are in the best position to protect and manage it. CBNRM thus asserts the principle of local community control and initiative while recognizing the importance of institutional and policy contexts in influencing its performance in harnessing local resources and using them productively, equitably and sustainably to meet community needs.

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