This paper develops four agricultural household models of forest clearing – as both an input for current production and an investment in future production – over two periods under distinct land and labor market institutions. Five different effects of policies on farmers' forest clearing decisions are identified. Careful comparison of their relative magnitudes reveals (potential) pro-forest policies under distinct market conditions. In Latin American countries, poor early settlers are often bid off their cleared land after or without cultivation by wealthy large holders. With this ‘sell-out effect,’ price transfer and technological transfer for soil management targeting poor colonists and policy reforms eliminating land price distortions are recommended to arrest deforestation. On the other hand, especially in places where land transaction opportunities are nil like Sub-Saharan African countries, policies promoting non-agricultural activities among poor farmers are needed.