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In World Resources 2005 we have argued that environmental income is the wealth of the poor, with the potential to provide not just subsistence but a path out of poverty if the right governance conditions prevail. In many communities, this argument is borne out every day, in on-the-ground, village-level experience.

The five case studies in this chapter come from far-flung parts of the world—communities in different physical environments and with different histories and cultural values. In each case, a poor rural community shows us how it has learned to restore and manage its local ecosystems for greater production, and how it has turned these natural assets into higher household income. But the heart of these stories is how communities have tried to meet the challenge of democratic governance. These cases are testaments to the difficulty and rewards of pursuing communitybased natural resource management that is inclusive of the poor. Finally, these studies remind us that each situation faced by the rural poor is unique, but that the desire for better lives— materially, culturally, and spiritually—is universal.

Nature in Local Hands: The Case for Namibia’s Conservancies
Devolving wildlife management and tourism to local conservancies for greater income opportunities.

More Water, More Wealth in Darewadi Village
Village-led water management to conserve natural resources and improve livelihoods.

Regenerating Woodlands: Tanzania’s HASHI Project
Restoration of woodlands based on the traditional practice of restoring vegetation in protected enclosures.

Bearing Witness: Empowering Indonesian Communities to Fight Illegal Logging
Training forest-dependent people to document illegal logging practices.

Village by Village: Recovering Fiji’s Coastal Fisheries
Restoring coastal resources by linking traditional conservation practices with modern techniques to create locally managed marine areas.