Buffer zones have been used as part of larger integrated conservation development programs to provide the benefits of ecological buffering of protected areas and socioeconomic buffering of neighboring communities. The authors explore the legal and managerial development of buffer zones internationally and with the passage of a conservation amendment in Nepal. A review of Nepal's buffer zone policies and several ongoing projects shows that there are several potential inherent problems. As written, regulations tend to expand the authority of the state by imposing restrictions in populated areas formerly not under control of park officials. Some participatory rights are provided to citizens, but management authority largely remains top down from the standpoint of local users. The authors question whether the managerial and research capacities exist to monitor buffer zones for their effectiveness for both conservation and development purposes and make several recommendations to improve implementation.