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Communities as Resource Management Institutions

Marshall W. Murphree

Report/paper, 15 pages

We cannot glibly assume that everyone, everywhere, has the same reasons for an interest in the environment. Different motives have different effects and policy. We have to understand who is interested in what concerning the environment. Perhaps we can simplify the answer by suggesting that people seek to manage the environment for two reasons: first, because the management of natural resources improves the conditions of their livelihood. Second, because environmental degradation is perceived to be threatening, either to life-sustaining processes (e.g. through pollution or soil erosion)or to peoples’ aesthetic values. These tow sets of reasons inter-relate, but the distinction between them is important, since the first tends to predominate in the developmentalist perspective while the second tends to be prominent in the conservationist stance.

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