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ABSTRACT

Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), once presented as the best way to protect common pool natural resources, now attracts a growing chorus of critiques that either question its underlying assumptions or emphasize problems related to institutional design. These critiques overlook connections between the definition of rights to natural resources and membership in political communities. The potential for competing definitions of political identity and rights across natural resources arises when property rights regimes differ across natural resources and these different systems of rights appeal to alternative definitions of community. In Botswana, the entangling of natural resource policy with identity politics contributed to a partial recentralization of CBNRM in 2007.