Decentralization and associated community-based conservation initiatives have spread rapidly in recent decades. For the past 25 years Nepal has been a leading country in devolutionary forest management through its community forestry program. The program has involved significant bi-lateral assistance (direct and indirect) from its inception, with different agencies working in different districts. The significant involvement of international actors in almost all community forests in Nepal suggests considerable influence on forest policy and practice. Exactly how such external pressures affect outcomes remains unclear, however, if not unexamined. Using a political ecology approach, the proposed research will show for what forest management and community development outcomes external pressure or involvement is facilitative versus disruptive.