RISI VIEWPOINT: Agroforestry, an alternative investment vehicle for natural resource investors

By John North, Economist, International Timber

Agroforestry, the intercropping of trees with agricultural crops, has long been a practice in many parts of the world. Originally, subsistence farmers cultivated trees for a variety of needs: wood fuel, food preparation, small-scale construction; similar agroforestry designs are still in use today. However, scale is the operative word for today's forestry and agricultural operations, especially in the developed world. To feed and house an ever-increasing population, agribusinesses and forest products producers must operate on a large enough scale that profit maximization is balanced with marginal cost minimization. Thus, the division of labor and specialization ...

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