Natural resource management research has to evolve from a focus on plans, maps, and regulations to an acknowledgment of the complex, sometimes chaotic, reality in the field, with a large number of actors making their own decisions. As outside actors, we can only try to facilitate and support a process of negotiation among the stakeholders. Such negotiation involves understanding the perspectives of all stakeholders, analyzing complementarities in views, identifying where differences may be settled by “science,” where science and social action can bring innovative alternatives for reconciliation, and where compromises will be necessary to move ahead. We distinguish between natural resource management problems at village level, within country, or transboundary, and those that relate local stakeholder decisions to global issues such as biodiversity conservation. Tree-based systems at plot or landscape level can minimize conflicts between private and public interests in local environmental services, but spatial segregation of functions is an imperative for the core of global biodiversity values. The complex agroforests developed by farmers as alternatives to food-crop-based agriculture integrate local and global environmental functions, but intensification and specialization may diminish these non-local values. For local biodiversity functions, a medium-intensity “integrate” option such as agroforests may be superior in terms of resilience and risk management. Major options exist for increasing carbon stocks by expanding tree-based production systems on grasslands and in degraded watersheds through a coherent approach to the market, policy, and institutional bottlenecks to application of existing rehabilitation technologies. Agroforestry mosaics may be an acceptable replacement of forests in upper watersheds, provided they evolve into multistrata systems with a protective litter layer. Challenges to INRM research remain: how should the opportunities for adaptive response among diverse interest groups, at a number of hierarchical levels, be included in the assessment of impacts on the livelihoods of rural people?