The implementation of a mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD - plus) will be affected by governance conditions within host countries. The top eight countries, which are responsible for 70 percent of the world's total annual deforestation, have implemented certain forms of decentralization in public administration and forest management. This paper analyzes implications of decentralized forest management for the implementation of REDD. Three possible options for the involvement of local governments in the implementation of REDD are: 1) the central government decides on a national reference level and devolves the implementation to local governments; 2) the central government decides on a national reference level and seeks expressions of interest from local governments to implement REDD in their administrative areas; and 3) the central and local governments decide on a national reference level jointly and local governments implement REDD activities locally. This paper also highlights fiscal instruments for REDD revenue distribution.