In pursuit of sustainable forest conservation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal have promoted participatory forest management (PFM) approaches such as community forestry, joint forest management, and social forestry. This study assessed these approaches based on policy and legal frameworks, organizational arrangements, and decentralization of authority, which are considered the fundamental requirements for the success of PFM. The findings of the analysis revealed that although there is a tendency among all four countries moving toward PFM, their features and fundamentals vary considerably from one country to another. Overall, community forestry in Nepal appeared to be a robust participatory system, while the social forestry of Bangladesh?a highly centralized approach?is deemed very weak. The community forestry approach in Bhutan and joint forest management in India fall between these two extremes. Broad policy recommendations are outlined for promotion of genuine PFM.