Forest cover change is one of the most important land cover changes. Intensified economic development and population growth have led to extensive deforestation and afforestation, and greatly altered the forest landscape patterns. This paper analyzed how socioeconomic drivers influenced the forest extent and landscape patterns in a lagged manner within the Li River Basin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, during the period of 1991 to 2013. First, the temporal variations of forest extent and landscape patterns as quantified by six forest cover metrics were analyzed. The cross-correlation analysis was employed to examine the lagged responses of forest cover metrics to each socioeconomic driver across regions. Last, the fixed effects regression models were built to quantitatively assess the spatially variant relationships. The results demonstrated that the influence of socioeconomic drivers lagged, and the lagged influence varied across regions.