Chainsaw milling in Ghana has been banned and criminalized since 1998. However, the implementation of the ban has been very difficult and largely unsuccessful. One of the several reasons that have been identified to explain the continuation and expansion of the activity is the lack of clarity over forest and tree tenure, particularly tenure of trees on farms. This has resulted in strong support of some local communities for ‘illegal’ chainsaw operations. Even though forest and tree tenure and access rights have been identified as contributing to ‘illegal’ chainsawing, the connection between tenure and ‘illegal’ chainsawing has not been systematically assessed. The paper presents results from a study that sought to understand the extent to which tree tenure and access impact or influence chainsaw milling. Results of the study indicate that community resentment of the current system of timber tree tenure is a factor that facilitates the acceptance of chainsaw operators in the communities they operate. Indeed, the farmer plays an important role in facilitating access to timber trees by ‘illegal’ chainsaw operators. Enforcement of the ban on chainsaw lumber production and sale and the restrictive forest and tree tenure arrangement in Ghana are major factors that limit the accessibility of chainsaw operators to timber trees. The paper contends that forest management systems, which are deliberately designed to sustain and develop the value of forests for people living near them, will gain support for long-term, sustainable management. This will require security of access to forest resources, local incentives to protect the forest and its timber resources and the involvement of local communities in forest management.