With the book publication “Forest and Nature Governance — A practice based approach” (Arts et al., 2013, Eds.) the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group of Wageningen University, The Netherlands demonstrates its high aspirations of developing a new research approach. This article aims at discussing the methodological and conceptual contributions of the book to the field of forest and environmental policy research and proposes perspectives for further developing this methodological approach. It finds the “practice based approach” being an innovative, theoretically sound concept, which is able to produce valuable and “thick” empirical results. The approach is also found offering a plethora of possibilities to link up to analytical policy research. Yet, the approach will require further elaboration, especially on questions regarding the role of definitions, its contribution towards explaining social phenomena, and concerning the use of normative orientations in some of the empirical cases. The future challenges of the approach lie in either moulding a niche for further developing it independent from other schools, or in influencing mainstream approaches through theoretical innovations or surprising empirical results.