In recent times a lot of attention has been focused upon how to improve the environment which has suffered severe degradation due to neglect and misuse. Concentration upon the natural resource base without due consideration of the human population that depends upon those resources, however, has led to interventions that were not sustainable. Development efforts to reverse the trend of deforestation, among other environmental problems, must be sensitive to the fact that people, especially in the rural areas, are dependent upon the forest resources that they exploit for ensuring household food and economic security. There is a tradition of forest resource exploitation in rural African communities for the benefit of the local residents, based upon social norms and beliefs leading to land tenure systems, gender relationships and social stratification systems. In addition to these social factors is the present lack of viable alternatives to these traditionally used resources. At the same time, environmental degradation has had serious consequences upon the lives of the rural inhabitants, particularly women, who spend more time and effort securing these critical resources. Population growth has similarly affected the demand for more timber and non-timber forest resources. Interventions to improve forest management must take these social issues into consideration for a sustainable solution to environmental problems.