Understanding inter-community performance assessments in community-based resource management at Avu Lagoon, Ghana
Environment, Development and Sustainability
Wildlife Division of Forestry Commission, Accra, Ghana; Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, Canada; University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Community-based natural resources governance (CBNRG) is becoming increasingly important as a means to achieve both conservation and sustainable livelihood goals. Assessing the performance of such approaches is an important step in improving their performance and facilitating their expansion. However, CBNRG initiatives are often not restricted to one community, and significant differences may exist among communities that can be obscured using performance assessments that do not attend to those differences. This paper first assesses the performance of the Avu Lagoon Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) in Ghana through a survey of 232 households and an 18 participant workshop that compares desired outcomes with those outcomes that were perceived to have been achieved (i.e. performance). This paper next examines the differences among four communities within the Avu Lagoon CREMA and provides some insight as to why these differences occur. Results indicate that overall, achieved outcomes fall short of desired outcomes. This is particularly the case for socio-economic outcomes and less so for conservation outcomes. We also find that communities are more homogenous in their desired outcomes than they are in their assessment of performance outcomes. There are important differences among the four communities in terms of the importance attached to outcomes and the achievement of those outcomes. Influential variables include how and who introduced the CBNRG concept to the local communities, existing socio-economic and cultural context, the development status and challenges of the community, effective leadership, and institutional capabilities. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
community dynamics; household survey; institutional development; leadership; performance assessment; protected area; resource management; socioeconomic impact; sustainability; Ghana