We investigated the coping strategies of rural communities in three countries in Africa to climate hazards. Forest ecosystems deliver food and shelter during extreme events (droughts and floods) and are thus key assets for increasing the resilience of poor communities. In some villages, forests and their NTFP serve as supplementary income during periods of climate stress at the community-level. These coping strategies can form a basis for dealing with future climate changes and can contribute to the development of planned adaptation strategies for anticipated changes. We identified factors that promote or prevent the use of sustainable coping strategies related to forest ecosystems.