Millions of people living in poverty depend on non-timber forest products (NTFPs), yet forest protection causes displacement, replacement or reduction of NTFP extraction activities, with implications for human welfare. Here, we assess the impact of forest protection on a novel measure of wellbeing that incorporates both objective and subjective components of people's lives. In five villages near forests with mixed protection status in Tanzania, household perceived need for firewood is compared with actual consumption in order to provide a simple metric of firewood sufficiency. Firewood sufficiency varied with forest protection status, with non-compliance inferred by household ability to meet firewood needs despite forest access restrictions. Fuel-efficient stove ownership improved the perceived ability to meet firewood needs; however, actual consumption remained unchanged. Firewood sufficiency was significantly lower for those sourcing firewood outside forests, and increased household awareness of the management authority significantly reduced firewood consumption. In a forest landscape of mixed protection status, pressure will likely be displaced to the forest with the least active management authority, affecting their efficiency as non-extractive reserves. Our findings reinforce the need for a landscape approach to forest management planning that accounts for local needs, to avoid leakage to other less well-protected forests and detriment to household welfare.