With reference to two case studies in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, this paper evaluated the role of community-based timber production (CTP) enterprises in conservation. The authors made a detailed examination of the technical, economic, legal, social and ecological factors affecting CTP enterprises and drew out the differences between CTP and industrial logging. They concluded that immediate viability of CTP enterprises was difficult enough to establish, never mind long-term ecological sustainability. Many CTP initiatives would require subsidies. Nonetheless, CTP was an appropriate tool for conservation, because small-scale cutting was less destructive than large-scale industrial logging.