Indonesia has turned its alleged role as global leader of land-based carbon emissions into a role as a global trailblazer exploring modalities for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). REDD+ readiness is largely about improving forest governance, but this itself is a multilayered concept. This article analyses how the processes and practices of REDD+ readiness are leading to various forest governance reforms in Indonesia. We analysed six dimensions of REDD+ readiness progress over the past six years and the way these interact with land tenure reform and land-use planning. We found evidence that (1) tenure issues are taken more seriously, as evidenced by the development of social safeguard mechanisms and efforts to accelerate the gazettement of forest boundaries, although a constitutional court recognition in 2013 for customary forest management is, however, yet to be operationalized; (2) spatial planning relates forests more clearly to other parts of the landscape in terms of compliance with Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) commitments; and (3) the forest and peatland conversion moratorium initiative led to a revamping of forest management. Despite progress, there are still major obstacles to full REDD+ implementation in Indonesia. The discussion focuses on the weaker part of readiness and possible ways forward. Policy relevance Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus (REDD+) was introduced at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP 13) 2007 in Bali designed to support the efforts of the parties to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhance the forest carbon stock, by means of forest conservation and the sustainable management of forests. This article aims to examine the impact of REDD+ readiness process in Indonesia on transforming existing forest governance. This paper focus the analysis on the two most contentious forest governance issues in Indonesia: land tenure and land-use planning. Such analysis and lessons are relevant for policy-makers in Indonesia in an effort to have a forest governance reform and also the future challenges of forest governance in national and sub-national level in the world of sustainable forest management as well as REDD+ implementation.