Although there is considerable interest in the impact of diverse policies affecting the biophysical outcomes in forests, gaining a substantial sample over time of forests under different institutional arrangements has been difficult. This article analyzes data from 46 forests located in six countries over time. In forests where policies have been adopted for conservation, active monitoring and sanctioning by locals is associated with positive forest conditions. Forests that allow user group harvesting, perhaps counterintuitively, are also shown to be associated with positive forest conditions. However, conditions in community-managed forests are not statistically different from government- or privately managed forests. This implies that local communities can play an important role in achieving positive forest conditions but that full management responsibilities need not be given to achieve these results. © 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.