This study examines variations in the performance of participatory forest management programs among four forest management groups (FMGs) in southern Burkina Faso, and assesses the factors that influence their members’ perceptions of performance through a household survey of 216 members. Variations in performance scores among the FMGs were analyzed through multivariate analysis of variance while multinomial regression analysis was used to identify factors that influence their perception of the performance. The results reveal significant differences in performance scores among FMGs. Members of some FMGs perceived that the participatory forest management program enabled them to get benefits from the sale of fuelwood while performance scores in the forest conservation and decision-making processes is generally poor. The score for economic performance of FMGs in turn was related to better access to roads and markets. Group size tended to enhance economic performance via its strong influence on annual fuelwood harvest, while the resource base appeared to be inconsequential. Members of the forest management groups perceived that large group size and group heterogeneity, particularly in terms of ethnicity, as well as knowledge and awareness of problems related to the forest environment have no influence on the performance of their respective groups. For rural communities to have a favorable disposition toward sustainable forest management, differences in member understanding of collective actions and their impact before and during the implementation of participatory forest management programs should be considered.