Participatory Land Use Planning
and Governance in Ratanakiri,
Natural resources are part of the ecosystem that provide goods and services to humans. They support people’s sustenance and improve living conditions. Since these resources play such an important role, countries, groups and individuals use various means to control access to these resources. Control over access normally denotes a kind of ownership for use and management of the resource. In fact, many conflicts, battles and wars have been fought to retain or obtain control over resources.
Adapted from a chapter
Tyler, S. (ed). Community-Based
Natural Resource Management:
Action Research and Policy
Change in Asia. Ottawa: IDRC
Books, forthcoming 2005.
The procedures for claiming that a resource is state or private property are usually clearly defined and well established with clear measures to protect these rights. In many countries though, there is growing evidence that when resources are classified as state or private property, this classification normally excludes the very poor and marginally poor, and in fact tends to marginalize them further. Developed countries usually have a system of providing the poor with social security programs and projects that provide them with their basic needs and help them survive without exploiting natural resources. This is different in developing countries, especially those that have poor governments, rich private sectors (a small percentage of the population) and large poor populations that depend totally or primarily on natural resources for their livelihood. In fact, many of these communities manage these resources and consider that the resources belong to them.