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A questionnaire survey covering 35% of all households in five villages was conducted in a local forest protection group in Orissa, India. The aim was to study dependency, involvement and attitude towards forest protection based on gender and caste. A conceptual model indicating differences between the groups was used as a base. Women experienced more problems of restrictions caused by the protection and more threats associated with the forest than did men. Voting in meetings and a wish for more plantations was of greater importance for women than for men, while men emphasised importance of co-operation with government. Direct involvement was very low among women, even though they were well informed about forest issues. Tribal groups were the main contributers of labour, while general caste had been involved for considerably longer in forest protection than other groups. The tribal groups also wanted more plantations and had a good understanding of the ecosystem. For example, they indicated the value of a growing forest. Men and general caste tended to be more outspoken in this type of questionnaire situation compared to women and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The general attitude towards Dhani Hill, however, was positive and could be linked to daily use and future optimism. This optimism and the involvement of all the different groups should be considered as crucial in the timing of local forest management interventions. This should be seen together with the diversified opinions and ways of expressing such opinions depending on gender and caste.