Since the 1990s, forest-dependent communities in tropical regions have created national and transnational grassroots networks. While in Latin America, their main goal is to promote community forestry and claim territorial rights, forest-dependent communities in the Congo Basin are more focused on improving participatory inclusion in forest policies. These diverging trends are rooted in the historical social movements’ struggles in Latin America and in the international actors’ push for more inclusion of local communities by governments in Central Africa. Given that the emergence of transnational community forestry networks is linked to different claims of autonomy based on regional context, how do the politics of autonomy driven by transnational grassroots networks influence community forest governance? This paper aims to examine how the different types of autonomy claimed by transnational grassroots networks, – vis-à-vis state bureaucracies, international partners and community organisations, – affect the multi-scale governance of community forestry in tropical regions. Our analysis draws on a political sociology and comparative politics approaches, through the case studies of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB) and the Network of Indigenous and Local Communities for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPALEAC).