The future for REDD+ in Papua New Guinea (PNG) seems uncertain in these days. Logging companies are accessing much land via a controversial legal framework (Special Agricultural Business Lease), while conservation-oriented NGOs are struggling to find schemes to stop the deforestation. After the failure of voluntary carbon trade due largely to scams, REDD+ has been their new darling. However, there are currently only a few pilot projects mainly in areas, without large-scale logging. This paper argues that to understand the possibility for successfully implementing REDD+, one must look at the development of the forestry sector as a whole with its competing actors, technologies and forms of social organisation. The challenges to conservation come not only from 'above' (logging industry and policy-makers) and from 'below' (poverty and complex customary land tenure), but also from the union of these two levels. While the portable sawmill is not new in PNG, it is only recently that logging companies have begun to sponsor small-scale community logging, which otherwise is considered more sustainable than industrial logging. This decentralisation of the logging industry to a 'participatory mode', where landowners log their own trees may paradoxically be the biggest challenge to conservation in PNG rather than its last hope.