The biodiversity of the walnut fruit forests in Kyrgyzstan is under huge pressure due to various socio-economic challenges and anthropogenic factors. In this context, the participation of local people plays a significant role in the conservation of biodiversity. This study assessed local people’s understanding of forest biodiversity and evaluated their knowledge of the wildlife at three different locations. The research was conducted between May and September in 2008 with randomly selected households (n = 142). The results indicated that the local people were aware of the concept of forest biodiversity. This concept is perceived in different ways depending on the benefits gained from the forest and due to a bias that is strongly related to the profession. Regarding the current conditions of biodiversity in general, people have clear and positive intentions for conservation. However, it seems that people will be unable to reduce their impact on forest resources in the future due to the current socio-economic challenges. Further, people’s expectations for the future of forest biodiversity varied significantly (6–52%) between the sites due to the differences in the pressure exerted by humans on the forests and the availability of forest resources. Concerning the people’s knowledge of wildlife, this was limited to a few species (28–35% of the species occurring in this area). This study highlights the fact that increasing awareness of wildlife is essential for the maintenance of biodiversity. Local people and the forestry sector need to stress the importance of biodiversity in establishing a sound conservation strategy, as well as income-generating activities.