Challenges of Participatory
Natural Resource Management
Participatory natural resource management research emphasizes the importance of multiple stakeholder analysis and involvement. Increasing concerns about the (mis)management of the natural resource base stimulated the development of such an approach in which both ecological and sociological aspects of resource dynamics are often addressed more at an aggregated level, such as, for example, a micro watershed, a watershed, a rangeland or a (community) forest. It allows dealing more systematically with the dynamic and often complex interactions among components of a natural resources system or a production system (e.g., farming, fishing, forestry, herding, collecting edibles).
Stakeholder involvement refers to the active and meaningful participation of small farmers, large farmers, entrepreneurs, local authorities, local groups, non-government organization (NGO) staff and policymakers at different levels who together analyze problems and define research and development initiatives and work towards reconciling conflicting or diverging points of views and interests. In particular, the active involvement of NGOs, local governments, grassroots groups and farmers/herders/fishers associations is now a feature in many participatory natural resource management research projects. This joining of forces and learning from each other is called collective action. It stands at the heart of this new approach.