We used semi-structured interviews to describe how rural subsistence communities living near forests respond to environmental change in three African nations - Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Rwanda. We begin by recounting people's perception of environmental change - what are the issues of greatest concern as identified by local communities? Second, we explore people's responses to identified environmental problems (how are people adapting to the identified changes?) and in particular the role of forests in these processes. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of changing land (and in particular, forest) management practices - both real and prospective - in the focal countries, and how their implementation may affect the future adaptation strategies of such communities. We contend that people's current and potential responses and adaptation to environmental change are influenced by the availability and access to forests and forest resources, and the degree to which their livelihood strategies have diversified away from forest dependence. Furthermore, the ways in which these communities are able to continue to use forests to adapt to environmental change will likely be shaped by the implementation of different forest management practices like REDD+.