Nepal's world-renowned community forests are under threat from a sudden rise in demand for firewood because of a fuel crisis, officials say.
A blockade on the Himalayan nation's border with India has halted imports.
Ethnic communities in the southern plain bordering India are protesting against the new constitution, saying it does not adequately represent them.
At least 40 people have died and hundreds of trucks have been stuck across the border in India.
Nepal is a landlocked country and totally reliant on India for all its fuel, food and medicine imports.
Supplies have been disrupted for over two weeks.
Conservationists say people have been left with no choice but to cut down trees for firewood despite having a tradition of protecting their forests.
"With no cooking gas and kerosene for their kitchens, the demand for firewood has suddenly jumped and our forests are under pressure," said Ganesh Karki, chairman of Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal, an umbrella organisation of community forests across the country.
"We have received information from our different member community forests that people are now entering forests to collect firewood and in several areas trees have been chopped down."
Nepal has been a global leader in community forestry where local people become custodians of the forests and are supposed to utilise the resource sustainably.
There are more than 15,000 community fores
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