This paper explores the value chains of forest honey in Zambia and Ethiopia and considers a range of interventions that might deliver livelihood opportunities for forest based communities while simultaneously promoting forest conservation. Seven types of interventions are identified including those focused on rights, technological developments, gender issues, product quality, trade development, product processing and added value, such as fair trade certification. The paper draws on evidence provided by forest beekeeper stakeholders in the Mwinilunga area in Zambia, and from evidence of an action research project in South West Ethiopia. The paper finds that many common value chain interventions are inappropriate, with the so called “modernisation” of the activity particularly problematic. The paper concludes that traditional forest beekeeping practices should be encouraged, and only carefully considered interventions around quality and marketing should be considered as these support a sustainable honey economy that delivers both livelihood gains and forest maintenance.