During the past years, much attention has been given towards the question how local communities interact with forest vegetation. The often dominating perspective of poverty forcing local communities to overexploit their forests resources has gradually been complemented by a perspective of local communities maintaining forest resources on the basis of their forest-related values and indigenous knowledge systems. The concepts of resource degradation and sustainable use of resources should therefore not be considered as referring to a dichotomous situation, but rather as referring to polar positions in a continuum in people - forest interactions characterized by partly overlapping processes of degradation, resource conservation and resource enrichment. Still little attention has been given towards the strategies of farmers to either overexploit and degrade natural vegetations or to develop resource-enriched anthropogenic vegetation types, and about the factors behind the decisions of local farmers to invest or not in indigenous forest management and to carry-out locally-adapted forest management practices. Notable in respect to commercially interesting non-timber forest products (NTFPs) local communities have often developed resource conservation systems and/or resource-enriched vegetation and/or agroforestry systems. The scope for NTFPs to contribute towards local livelihoods has recently been highlighted for tropical rain forest areas. Still less attention has been given to options for NTFP production in semi-arid woodlands, although several important NTFPs are derived from such woodlands. For instance, frankincense and myrrh, the historically oldest international traded tree products, derive from woodlands in the Horn of Africa; also gum arabic is produced here. The products are obtained from a variety of locally-evolved production systems. The problem we will address in this study is the lack of understanding of how tree production characteristics and socio- economic and institutional conditions interact in determining the degradation/enrichment status of different gum/resin production systems. We will evaluate this problem by assessing what factors determine use intensity and management of the different production systems and what consequences this has for the position of these systems on the degradation - conservation - enrichment continuum. This comparative analysis of ABC (Acacia, Boswellia, Commiphora) management strategies by local producers will provide insights into how tree characteristics, livelihoods and tenure conditions interact in shaping forest-people interactions, and how this effects the creation of a landscape mosaic with a mix of natural forests, resource-enriched anthropogenic vegetation types and degraded vegetation. It will also provide insights into the local perspectives on the degradation-enrichment continuum, and on options for restoration of degraded vegetation.