Financial attractiveness of smallholder tree plantations in the Amazon: bridging external expectations and local realities

Hoch, L and Pokorny, B and de Jong, W (2012) Financial attractiveness of smallholder tree plantations in the Amazon: bridging external expectations and local realities. Agroforestry Systems, 84 (3). pp. 361-376.

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This paper compares the financial attractiveness of forest and agroforestry plantations promoted by external organizations with tree growing practices of Amazonian smallholders. Based on 80 case studies and interviews with 112 forestry professionals from Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, the paper characterizes the economic, environmental and structural implications, and identifies the respective financial costs and benefits. Six case studies provided data for in-depth financial analyses. The results showed that the expectations of externally promoted smallholder tree and agroforestry plantations were not met. Despite significant inputs, smallholders generated at best annual net incomes of US$200–$200–1,000 per ha from NTFP plantations, and up to US$800–$800–1,000 from timber plantations in the year of harvest. This corresponded to around one-third of the initially expected returns. Overall, only around 1% of the smallholders participating in such initiatives managed to produce and commercialize any plantation products. Smallholders’ practices of complementary tree growing in conjunction with agriculture and managing natural regeneration of timber and NTFP products were often underestimated by professionals. They required low input, didn’t rely on external support, were highly flexible in risky environments, and some presented financial returns comparable to some well functioning plantations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors would like to thank the EU, the ForLive partners and the CIFOR editor for their valuable support as well as the highly interesting contributions of the many experts, technicians and smallholders who have participated in this research. The valuable suggestions by anonymous referees are gratefully acknowledged.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cost-benefit analysis, Tree plantations, Agroforestry, Low-input initiatives, Smallholders, Amazon
Author Affiliation: 1.Institute of Silviculture, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Tennenbacherstrasse 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
Subjects: Agricultural Engineering
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2012 09:22
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2012 09:22
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