Governance arrangements directly influence decision making processes and the degree to which different stakeholder groups are engaged in planning, implementing, and receiving benefits from Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR). Narrow institutional and agency mandates must be better aligned to permit new ways of governing landscapes that are centered on the needs and capacities of local stakeholders. This special issue highlights challenges and opportunities for governing FLR at different scales and under different contexts across a range of tropical and subtropical forest biomes. In this introductory paper, we explore common threads from diverse studies comprising the special issue to highlight key challenges for effective governance of FLR across many different contexts. We discuss enabling factors and conditions that can help to overcome deficiencies in governance processes and outcomes and illustrate how these conditions are linked to the six principles of FLR. We conclude by emphasizing several gaps in understanding how governance arrangements influence the planning, implementation and monitoring of FLR.