Design and application of context-specific forest management practices with the participation of key stakeholders plays a significant role in sustainable forest management outcomes. However, key forestry stakeholders often hold different, and sometimes conflicting, expectations in relation to forest management policies and management objectives. Applying the triple-perspective typology of stakeholder theory, this paper assessed the evolution of “Scientific Forest Management” (SciFM), a signature programme of the Nepalese Government, as well as its policy processes and explored compatibility, complexity, cost and relative advantages of the adoption of SciFM. The government believes that without this programme, Nepal is losing 91 Million US Dollar (USD) per year. This study revealed that participation of key stakeholders remained contested from the beginning of its implementation, primarily due to differences they held in understanding and interpretation of SciFM. Although stakeholders’ views converged on the potential role of SciFM to increase forest product supply and the domination of timber-centric management, their perspectives differed in nomenclature and implementation modality of SciFM. Primarily, the community forest users and their networks did not own the concept from the beginning, as they were suspicious of recentralization and bureaucratic dominance in forest governance through SciFM. Since historically ingrained skepticism in both government officials and community forest users’ networks towards each other has negatively influenced the trust-building environment, the management of stakeholders’ relations through frequent and meaningful deliberations, and the simplification of bureaucratic procedures in implementation and capacity development of key actors could be instrumental in achieving SciFM objectives.
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