Based in Tanzania, the Nepsus project seeks to explain the formation of complex partnerships in natural resource management and establish whether and how they lead to better and more equitable sustainability outcomes in comparison to simpler forms of partnerships.
The NEPSUS project seeks to compare cases of governance partnerships in forestry, coastal resources and wildlife in Tanzania. Tanzania provides an ideal case because of the existence of all three resource systems managed under different partnership arrangements. Using all cases from one country reduces variation in government contexts and frameworks. Moreover, all cases from the same country share a similar evolution from centralized to decentralized management approaches that emerged around the same time from the late 1990s.
While the case studies differ in specific resource types and particular actors involved, the objectives of all the partnerships are similar: attain both environmental and livelihood outcomes, while improving natural resources governance at the local level. In each resource type, we also seek to minimize variability by selecting sites that are comparable in terms of socio-economic, ecological and political factors. This enables us to tease out how differences in complexity may affect sustainability outcomes. At the same time, we collect and analyze data on context, processes, and legitimacy that will allow a nuanced connection between complexity and outcomes