This brief casts a critical eye over the land reform trend that has emerged in Sub-Saharan Africa since 1990. It finds that there has been much less change in tenure paradigms than anticipated and insufficient change in how land matters are governed. Most urban and rural poor in 2011 have no more security of tenure than they possessed in 1990. However, the most disappointing shortfall is in respect of lands which around a million rural communities in Africa traditionally own and use collectively. This directly affects the future of forests.