This guide suggests ways to design and implement forest-based interventions that have the greatest potential to reduce poverty. Areas for action include timber production in both natural and planted forests, non-wood forest products, woodfuel, bushmeat, agroforestry and payment for environmental services. For each topic, the guide outlines key issues, summarizes successful case studies and identifies sources of additional information. The document highlights the importance of using participatory approaches and of tailoring activities to local circumstances. Emphasis is on making changes that will improve the livelihoods of people living in or near forests, and on helping users to gain a better understanding of the forms of rural poverty and of how decisions made at the local level affect segments of poor rural communities in different ways - women, children and the elderly being the most vulnerable. The guide will be of interest to forestry and rural development practitioners and the communities they serve, including district forestry officials, extension workers, local planners and administrators, and owners of small-scale enterprises and their employees.