Although opinions differ on the rate of tropical deforestation and on the number of decades of survival remaining for tropical forests (World Bank, 1978; Lanly and Clem ent, 1979; Myers, 1980; Persson, 1974; Prin gle, 1976; Richards, 1973; Sommer, 1976; Spears, 1979; Zerbe and coauthors, 1980), no one denies the ongoing destruction of the world’s tropical forests. In view of the ex tensive deforestation of parts of the tropics and the pessimistic prognosis for the re maining tropical forests, it is clear that plan tation forestry, including agroforestry, which intermixes tree growing and cropping, must play a rapidly expanding role in the produc tion of forest products in most tropical coun tries. According to John Spears (1978) of the World Bank, by the year 2000 the devel oping world will need a minimum of 20 to 25 million hectares of new plantations just
for fuelwood consumption. Yet, continua tion of the current rate of plantation estab lishment will produce less than one-tenth of the projected requirement. The firewood crisis affecting the drier tropics like sub-Sa haran Africa has been well publicized (e.g., Eckholm, 1975). Less well known is the rapid deforestation of once richly forested coun tries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Ma laysia, Ivory Coast, and Costa Rica. Depletion of the species-rich lowland dipterocarp for ests of peninsular Malaysia has been so rapid, that government foresters estimate Malaysia will be a net importer of timber by 1990.