Scholars interested in the promotion of ‘‘good governance’’ and those interested in transnational advocacy networks both are concerned with the potential power of external actors to alter domestic political structures. This article analyses the networks promoting neo- liberalisation and democratic practices in Indonesia’s forestry sector as rival transnational net- works. The analysis finds that the Asian economic crisis and collapse of the Suharto regime provided a political opening for alliances between the two rival networks that helped to bring down the ruling oligarchy in timber, but the power of domestic oligarchs controlling the sector remains strong. In brief, there are limits to the power of both external networks vis-a` -vis domestic power relations. Given the financial resources and constraints on non-governmental organisations, they may be unable to alter the deep structures of capitalist accumulation and distribution based in Indonesia’s forest resources.