Despite decades of concerted global conservation efforts, biodiversity loss continues unabated, making it important to assess the effectiveness of conservation approaches. Using forest cover as a proxy for conservation effectiveness, we analysed land-use and land-cover changes across a community and a state forest of Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, India. Forest losses in the community lands (77.94 sq. km) were higher compared to the state forest (11.48 sq. km) between 1994 and 2014, and were driven by mining, industry, plantations and agriculture.