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In Zambia, early models of natural resource governance were based on state-centric approaches to conservation and later, to some degree, based on Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) models. Both of the models delivered poorly in terms of improved biodiversity management, enhanced rural livelihoods, and rights-based benefits. A lack of productive dialogue, involvement, and participation of local communities in natural resource governance resulted in considerable conflicts between protected area managers and local communities, with substantial local political and socio-economic costs. Through a mixed-methods approach using a questionnaire, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews, the Environmental Governance Systems (EGS) framework was applied to compare how interactions among political, economic, and civil society actors influence resource use and the state of resources in the state-led Kaingu chiefdom and the community-managed Kaindu Community Conservancy. Results show limited communication, cooperation, and coordination among the actors in both cases. Conflicting interests over the use of land, wildlife, forests, and fisheries among actors have led to strained relationships, limited interactions, and many negative outcomes in both cases. Both protected areas exhibit a top-down structure of natural resources governance with limited community participation, conflictual relationships among actors, corruption, lack of transparency, and low accountability. The CBNRM structures and processes need to be changed legislatively to improve local ownership and a sense of responsibility and legitimacy by restructuring the constitutions of CBNRM organizations and developing their human resource, financial, and logistical capacities. The study proposes a proactive transformative model for mitigating negative impacts on the state of resources and resource use.
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