Research Report

Working Paper 9: The Formation and Transformation of Local Institutions in Community-Based Natural Resource Management

Two case studies in Mae Wang Watershed, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Institutional analysis emerged as the central focus of natural resource management research in the last decade, due to its ability to reflect complicated and sophisticated human-nature relationships. Through two illuminating case studies from northern Thailand, characterized by cultural diversification which contain different levels of customary institutions with varying power structures and agendas, this study shows the tensions, challenges and opportunities of institutional adaptation for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Motivations and capacity building related to institutional sustainability were analysed under the context of changing environments and cultural diversification. This paper suggests that, regardless of the different characteristics emerging in the institutionalization of local mobilizations, the improvements in CBNRM require integrating local institutions into the institutional development framework as a whole. These institutional arrangements should help to keep a balance between the national interest and the local people’s concerns associated with their culture, livelihoods, rights and capacities.

Publication date : October 2008
Price : 180 Baht / 7 US$