In response to the 2011 Bonn Challenge, Ethiopia has committed to restoring 15 million ha of degraded forest and savannah. This study focuses on rehabilitation of communal lands in Tigray through the use of exclosures. Exclosures, often established by using so-called social fences in Ethiopia, are widely recognized as effective in restoring vegetation. This study identified factors contributing to the success of exclosures. After selecting nine successful exclosures from three agro-ecological zones, data were collected through a formal survey of 324 randomly selected households, and from focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Local communities recognize the role of exclosures in increasing site productivity and vegetation cover. However, this positive attitude is often challenged by shortages of livestock feed as a competing priority. Results of our analysis are presented here, bringing insights on factors affecting successful planning and implementation of exclosures and their wider adoption as a means of landscape rehabilitation.