• sustainable development;
  • strong and weak sustainability;
  • natural capital;
  • forest users' groups;
  • Nepal


This paper explores the ways that local people in different parts of the globe are working at the local level toward sustainable development, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Community forest management at the local level in Nepal is a successful model of sustainability. It exemplifies the ideals of strong sustainability, which enhances natural, economic and social capitals concurrently. The objective of such groups is to try to avoid ‘the tragedy of the commons’, and to conserve forests and obtain forest products by sustainably managing local forests. In addition, people realize indirect benefits of forest protection such as further control of landslides, and improvement of local watershed and microclimate. Further, users' groups are not only taking the forest products, but also increasing the forest stock, which is an act of natural capital enhancement. In addition, local communities are not only satisfying their demand for natural resources, but are also determined to increase their socio-ecological resource potential for the future. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.