This paper highlights the drawbacks of decentralized natural resource management in the rarely researched country, Ethiopia. We argue that, under the guise of decentralization policies, the central government extended its authority and also forced the high costs of its policy onto local people. In addition, local authorities have been dominated by local leaders who have changed rules to their own advantage. Moreover, the central government has failed to support local authorities. We also show the negative impacts of the shortcomings of decentralization on natural resource governance by local people, including lessened discharge of responsibilities for management and exclusion, as well as on people's livelihoods, as in the polarization of benefits.
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