Cameroonian Farmers Model Effective Resource Management

Counter to conventional wisdom, rural communities demonstrate that self-regulated, community-based resource management systems are effective.

Successful resource management on a small scale provides a model for policymakers to apply to resource management on a large scale.

A team of researchers working in northern Cameroon has found that mobile African cattle herders maintain a system for mutually beneficial and sustainable management of shared natural resources. The farmers achieve their balance despite the lack of a centrally administered property rights system. Through mutual, conflict-free adjustments, different ethnic groups graze their herds on shared grasslands in a pattern of even, non-destructive foraging. Given the high cost of displacement and governmental enforcement of property rights systems, the low cost of self-organized management of common resources make it an attractive alternative.

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