The Lao PDR has set an ambitious forest cover goal of 70% by 2020. The Government of the Lao PDR (GoL) includes forestry as one of the pillars contributing to poverty reduction in the country. But the longstanding goal of 70% forest cover is at risk. There are many challenges facing forest governance in the Lao PDR at present, and the challenges to the forestry sector arising from other sectors are daunting. It is often easy to blame local communities for deforestation and forest degradation, but there are underlying drivers such as economic development policies and governance issues that are among the root causes of deforestation. There is increasing recognition that many of the direct and underlying drivers of deforestation in Laos arise outside the forest sector.