Impacts of community-based natural resource management on wealth, food security and child health in Tanzania

Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is a major global strategy for enhancing conservation outcomes while also seeking to improve rural livelihoods; however, little evidence of socioeconomic outcomes exists. We present a national-level analysis that empirically estimates socioeconomic impacts of CBNRM across Tanzania, while systematically controlling for potential sources of bias. Specifically, we apply a difference-indifferences model to national-scale, cross-sectional data to estimate the impact of three different CBNRM governance regimes on wealth, food security and child health, considering differential impacts of CBNRM on wealthy and poor populations. We also explore whether or not longer-standing CBNRM efforts provide more benefits than recently-established CBNRM areas. Our results show significant improvements in household food security in CBNRM areas compared with non-CBNRM areas, but household wealth and health outcomes in children are generally not significantly different. No one CBNRM governance regime demonstrates consistently different welfare outcomes than the others. Wealthy households benefit more from CBNRM than poor households and CBNRM benefits appear to increase with longer periods of implementation. Perhaps evidence of CBNRM benefits is limited because CBNRM hasn't been around long enough to yield demonstrable outcomes. Nonetheless, achieving demonstrable benefits to rural populations will be crucial for CBNRM's future success in Tanzania.