Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1263–1280 | Cite as

Managing common pool resources without state support: insights from Shisholeka community in Central Zambia



Increasingly, emphasis is being placed on the role of indigenous or locally crafted natural resources management systems in sustainable natural resources management. While it is generally agreed that their potential to sustain and protect natural ecosystems exists in large measure, such systems are increasingly facing diverse internal and external pressures that threaten their viability. These pressures include demographic and economic change, land privatisation policies, renewable energy investment projects and large-donor-driven livelihood projects. Such pressures and their complexity raise the need to understand how local communities organise to protect resources they collectively value in the face of both internal and external pressures. Based on empirical data collected through interviews, participant observations, focus group discussions and a questionnaire survey conducted with local level actors in Shisholeka village of Central Zambia, this paper shows how local actors, in the absence of state support, react to internal and external pressures to develop robust and locally suited governance and institutional arrangements that best suit their interests in order to sustain their resource base.


Natural resources management Common pool resources Natural resources governance structures Local institutions Resource use 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesThe University of ZambiaLusakaZambia

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