The present paper assesses the access to livelihood assets in rural areas of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Considering the highland-lowland context, it subsequently analyses the market and non-market importance of forest resources for rural households. The analysis is based on data from three selected study locations in the province, collected through a field survey carried out from April to August 2004. Results show that access to various assets widely differs between the high- and lowland context. Forest resources, i.e. fuelwood, are of utmost importance for subsistence-oriented strategies especially in the highland areas, where affordable alternatives are missing. The role of forests in income-oriented strategies, however, is negligible both in the high- and lowland context.