Changes in forestry in Nepal in the late 20th century showed many parallels with 19th century Switzerland, as this paper explained, focusing on three interrelated issues: historical shifts in the provision of society's energy requirements, the growth of democracy which led to devolution of power to local user groups, and urban-rural conflicts. A surge in demand for fuel wood and timber occurred during the 19th century in Switzerland, but wood was then replaced by alternatives and forests came under legal local stewardship. In Nepal in the 1990s, an increase in urban demand for wood was accelerating much faster than it had in Switzerland and without foreseeable fuel substitutes, but there was hope that well-organised user groups could benefit in the long term through sustainable management of local forests.
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