As you drive from Biratnagar towards Dharan along Nepal's East-West highway, the forest is scattered with human settlements, and illegal logging is big business.
Between two per cent and four per cent of the total forest area is being lost every year. The logs are bound for India to meet its ever growing demand for wood. In the last two decades, a quarter of Nepal's forest area has been plundered.
But while government owned forests are being felled at record speed, community-managed forests are thriving.
In the early 1980s some 25 per cent of Nepal's forests were handed over to the communities, and today more than 1.6 million hectares of forest is run by 16,000 forest user groups. These forests have not only retained their vegetation but have drastically changed the lives of local people.
Subina Shrestha visits Nepal's Terathum district to meet the people who are finding numerous ways to use the forest more sustainably, from producing hand-made paper to cultivating medicinal plants.