Avoided deforestation provides a natural climate solution for reducing emissions while generating co-benefits for people and nature. However, unleashing this potential requires improved governance. Diverse coalitions of actors are designing interventions to protect forests, each with different motivations and specialization of strategies. We introduce a policy sequencing framework to advance our understanding of how to improve polycentric zerodeforestation governance. Focusing on commodity production in Costa Rica, Brazil, and Colombia, we reconstructed the policy mix of zero-deforestation interventions across three domains - domestic public policies, REDD+, and supply chain initiatives. We classified interventions according to their instrument mechanism - disincentives, incentives, enabling measures - and when they were introduced into the policy mix. We found a sequence of interventions that reflects stages of forest cover dynamics, but also depends on local political will and institutional capacity. Government command-and-control measures are needed early in the policy sequence to slow deforestation, with incentives added to increase legal compliance. REDD+ helps governments build an enabling environment that supports supply chain initiatives seeking to increase forest cover at later stages of the sequence. Policy sequencing and policyscape concepts advance the design of more deliberate polycentric forest governance that enhances actor coordination and instrument synergies in the policy mix.