Conservationists promote non-timber forest products (NTFP) to simultaneously alleviate poverty and conserve ecosystems. Unfortunately, little is known about how such products actually contribute to poverty alleviation, or how various complementary policies such as green marketing campaigns or cooperative management might impact resource health and users' welfare. This paper develops a simple NTFP extraction model that focuses on spatial and labor market dimensions of use in both managed and unmanaged settings. The model contrasts patterns of spatial use, resource health, and income generation under open access and community-managed institutions. We then test the conceptual model by investigating the case of xate production in the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico, using survey work conducted over two separate periods. The empirical investigation reveals spatial patterns and labor market outcomes predicted by the model. We find NTFP use is mainly conducted by households with low opportunity costs of time and fewer income generation opportunities.