Gender dimensions are fundamental to human/environment systems. I use gender to investigate land change in a forested area of conservation concern in the pastoral rangelands of Kenya Maasailand. Mixed methods reveal a narrative arc from the mid-1970s culminating in a transformation of land, livelihood, and culture by 2014. Empirical findings expand current understandings of livelihood shift in Maasailand to include gender dimensions critical to livelihood success. Remotely sensed satellite data and qualitative evidence expose simplistic narratives about environmental conditions in Loita Forest and Maasai women’s social status. I argue that gender deserves more attention in land-change studies because of its linkages to resource utilization and drivers of forest decline around the world.