Community forestry can only succeed with the full support, and active involvement, of local people. This paper draws on experience from the Korup forest area in Southwest Cameroon to highlight the multifaceted nature of communities. The level of access to forest resources and markets, the mixture of indigene- and stranger-headed households, the type of demographic changes that are taking place and livelihood strategies vary greatly from one community to another. Communities are also strongly demarcated along political lines between different groups of elites, elders and youths. Understanding this diversity is essential if appropriate ëcommunity-basedí forest management initiatives are to be promoted.