Forest policies in India have historically been ‘top-down’ strategies aimed at ensuring that local populations do not degrade forests. However, recent policy mandates have shifted toward ‘bottom-up’ and community-based approaches. This recognition of the role of local communities in protecting, managing and conserving the forest commons is laudable. Yet without an understanding of what community management actually entails, such approaches may lead to disappointments with respect to conservation and development goals. It could also stymie efforts to democratize access to, and control of the commons. While it is tempting to valorize local communities, research suggests that not all communities have been successful in their efforts to manage the commons. Further, the push toward decentralization has, in some cases, deepened existing inequities. In this context, this book examines the impact of social structure or socioeconomic heterogeneity on collective management, use, and dependence on forests. The analysis is based on a unique dataset gathered by the author in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.