Forests are not empty. There are various rights and interest in forests as well as the people who live in and around forests. If the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus (REDD+) mechanism is to work unilaterally by state and overlook the role of various actors, then it is likely that REDD+ will fail. From our stakeholder analysis and political mapping in Jambi, a priority province for REDD+ implementation in Indonesia, we show that REDD+ actors with knowledge, power and leadership, can support or reject REDD+. Specifically, we discuss the implementation capacity and new directions in policy. The analysis also provides indications as to the readiness of Jambi to implement REDD+, who wins and loses in adopting REDD+ and intervention scenarios to make REDD+ work. The methods used in this study are general and could be implemented elsewhere in Indonesia or abroad.