Owing to the failure of the earlier system of managing forests without inputs from local people Joint Forest Management and Community Forestry came into practice over the last decade based on psychological principles of management with people's participation. Its establishment has allowed forest department staff to redefine their relationship with villagers in order to regain their trust and alliance by changing attitudes, perceptions and leadership styles.
Although both India and Nepal share the principles of community-based forest management, owing to the cultural differences it has been considered that there was a likelihood of differential preferences for leadership styles. Since leadership is essential to the introduction and efficient implementation of Community Forestry a study was conducted in the western Terai region of Nepal to examine this issue. Results indicated the existence of a participatory style of leadership in Nepal which the local people support. They indicated their desire for leaders to be more participatory and less autocratic than was currently the case but also supported the employment of a nurturant leadership style where this was not possible. Results are discussed in line with cultural variations in personality, local traditions and the forestry situation. Comparative behavioural models for effective forest management in India and Nepal were also discussed.