SUMMARY Community based natural resource management (CBNRM) is predominantly viewed as a practice undertaken by a local community. Despite prolific research on CBNRM, little is known on how multi-scale regimes evolve to influence and shape local level resource management practices in specific contexts. In this paper, I demonstrate that Nepal's community forestry initiatives have evolved into regimes of governance beyond the local level. I also argue that the regime view of CBNRM helps to understand how different actors including donors, various government units, and particular groups of civil society from local to national levels engage in the politics of resource governance. Finally, I conclude that such multi-scalar politics shaping natural resource governance are crucial in explaining the livelihoods and conservation outcomes. The regime view can also offer new insights into public policy for more effective, equitable and sustainable management of resources.