Within forest governance research, the transfer of power from governmental actors to civil society and market actors has been subject to intense scientific debate. We move forward on this debate by analyzing how ongoing transformations and power shifts in forest governance affect the power relations of actors with interest in various ecosystem services (ESs) in nine countries (Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Turkey). In order to examine power resources of actors, we triangulated 220 qualitative interviews, document analysis, and participatory observations. Governmental actors (with various interests in ESs) were the most powerful actors in most countries, and thus drove forest management. Our analysis shows that the power relations of actors with interest in different forest ESs, varied within the nine countries, though many similarities existed. Governmental, market, and civil society actors differed in their capacity to apply the power strategies “coercion”, “(dis)incentives”, and “dominant information”, to realize their interests in ESs. In Lithuania, Slovakia and Turkey, governmental actors relied mostly on coercion; in the Netherlands on incentives; and in Sweden on dominant information. In Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal governmental actors relied on a mix of coercion, incentives, and dominant information. Market actors in all countries relied mostly on incentives, and civil society actors on dominant information as their power strategy.