Most forests in tropical Nepal are secondary, resulting largely from episodes of large-scale timber harvesting in the past along with accumulated small scale extraction of timber and non-timber forest products by local people over centuries. Currently in the forest depleted stage, remaining tropical secondary forests are still very important for fulfilling the subsistence and economic needs of local people, as well as for biodiversity conservation, groundwater recharge, and the protection of lowland agriculture from landslides and floods. Protection of degraded lands by community forest user groups in places has led to the successful development and management of some rehabilitated secondary forests. In government managed secondary forests with a production focus, people's participation in management is now being considered. Institutional, socio economic, and ecological issues related to the sustainable management and use of secondary forests along with implications for action are outlined.