Forests play a central role in climate change. The effects of climate change are having a strong impact upon forest ecosystems and will affect the livelihoods of forestdwelling communities. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forests also account for up to 25 per cent of the current yearly greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. However, through conserving and responsibly managing all types of forests, there is an important potential to substantially contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing carbon sinks. Thus, creating enabling conditions for forests to play a role in helping to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change will be an important task in forestry in the coming years. At present, the use of forest mitigation options in developing countries is very restricted and implies high burdens for local communities. The inclusion of a wider range of forestry options in a post-2012 climate regime with a more accessible set of modalities and procedures can have considerable potential to benefit local communities and mitigate climate change. Using forest options for addressing climate change requires a serious improvement in the governance of forest resources, including legal clarity, establishing clear legitimate land and/or carbon tenure, establishing national and local consensus on aims and implications through stakeholder participation, and setting up functioning monitoring systems and incentive mechanisms. Unless robust and proactive steps are taken to clarify and strengthen the property rights of rural and forest peoples, future climate change initiatives will benefit only a few, primarily wealthy elites, and reinforce existing social and economic disparities.