In recognition of the rapid depletion of tropical forest resources and the increased scarcity of fuelwood and other tree products, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) designed and funded the Forestry/Fuelwood Research and Development Project. F/FRED provides a network through which scientists exchange research plans, methods and results on the production and use of trees to meet the needs of small-scale farmers in Asia. These fast-growing, high-yielding trees are appropriately termed multipurpose tree species (MPTS). To date, network trials have been established on 16 sites in the humid and semi-humid tropics. Participants are 10 Asian scientists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.
Wealthier farmers can afford large-scale operations with high start-up costs. Poorer farmers might raise a few trees for lumber or nuts, etc., if the cost is negligible. Cash incentives and credit plans might enable more farmers to grow more trees. A farm forestry plan must (1) provide support to all classes of farmers, (2) provide a clear social and environmental benefit, and (3) avoid harming the local job situation (trees can be less labour-intensive than other crops). Such operations are generally simple to set up but must meet some locally perceived need. It may take years for trees to prove themselves as moneymakers.