Effective public participation is considered essential to making sound decisions for the protection and sustainable management of natural resources. This paper aims to analyze the preferences of forest villagers to protect state forests within the boundaries of villages and generate income for their livelyhoods. As a case study area in Turkey, forest villages of Rize-Ikizdere town were selected to carry out the research In the study area, intensive forest protection activities are carried out under the administration of Trabzon Regional Directorate of Forestry. A questionnaire form was developed and applied to the villages of the town on a face-to-face basis. According to the survey results, while most of the participants preferred to hand over the forest protection responsibility from state to legal village administration, they indicated some concerns about taking over the responsibility of forest protection that would bring some risks under the proposed policy. In conclusion, most of the participants envisioned that the new policy was likely to develop mutual understanding of participation, thoughtfulness, worthiness and stewardship about forests rather than foreseeing it as a source of income generation, and help lessen the forest degradation to a certain extent.