This paper presented a comprehensive study of abundance, management, trade and consumption of wood in urban Kano and its hinterland. Written at a time when urbanisation in Nigeria, as in other countries, was thought to be causing an 'urban-rural crisis' in which urban residents relied on ever larger areas of rural woodland to supply their fuel needs, the authors found that, contrary to expectation, deforestation did not decline with distance from town. Rather, traders harvested wood up to 400 km away, in uncontrolled areas. Closer to town farmers had clear tenure and rules governing tree use. Traditional authorities had dissolved but farmers had simply turned the top-down institution into a lateral one and retained the old principles of tree planting and protection. Indeed, offtake was stable and farmed areas supported stocks of wood double those of nearby reserves of natural woodland.