The last two decades have witnessed radical changes in the forest tenure legal framework in Viet Nam. While in the early 1990s, the State was the primary manager of forests, the approval of the Forest Protection and Development Law in 1991 and Land Law in 1993 opened the door to take forest management out of solely State hands. Subsequent legal enactments have elaborated these forest management arrangements to include private property. In 2003 and 2004, revisions to the Land Law and Forest Protection and Development Law enabled legal recognition of communities in managing land and forest resources.<br /> <br /> This paper provides an analysis of the on-the-ground picture of the implementation of forest tenure reform in two provinces in Viet Nam. Using empirical evidence from eight villages (four in each province), the authors argue that while forest land allocation (FLA) has been widely implemented, it has not been able to provide necessary control over the forest to local people. Power relations, customary practices, and pressure from markets, among other factors, have (re)shaped the tenure arrangements at the village level. Furthermore, the expected effect of FLA to contribute to poverty alleviation has not been achieved. By contrast, there is a danger of reverse impact from FLA on poverty alleviation.