Community Based Natural Resource Management has been espoused by many as a way to move global environmental agendas for biodiversity protection forward. CBNRM places the locus of control and management of resources closer to the communities that depend on them. This idealized view of community based resource management has often proven to be challenging to implement. In this thesis the CBNRM literature is reviewed and a framework developed identifying the main criteria for successful CBNRM and the main explanations of failure in CBNRM. I then look at the role of CBNRM as a tool for rural economic development and wildlife conservation in Botswana with a case study of the village of Xai Xai. I spent approximately one year in Botswana, gaining a greater understanding of the implications of CBNRM in the country as a whole. I conclude overall, that CBNRM has not been successful in promoting either biodiversity protection or local economic development though there are certain exceptions throughout the country. I spent over three months in Xai Xai conducting interviews. I conclude that the project has led to limited wildlife conservation (or it is impossible to tell as there is no data), and has contributed in only a limited way to rural economic development and empowerment of the Basarwa. But the project has potentially led to increasing hostilities and declining cooperation and relationships within and among the ethnic groups in the village. This thesis shows through a specific case study, that there are many complexities at play when implementing a CBNRM project. The local context, knowledge and perspective must be taken into consideration or the success of the project may be doomed from the start. Possibly the premise of CBNRM may not be a realistic approach to begin with and other options should be considered.