Like many of its contemporaries, the SIDA-funded Social Forestry project in Tamil Nadu, India, was too focused on physical targets and fuel wood and paid insufficient attention to decentralisation, local participation and ecological conditions. This paper reported how a consortium of local NGOs learned from the previous project's mistakes when implementing the Social Forestry Information Project. A locally controlled agroforestry scheme was set up on the denuded hills above one village. Elsewhere nurseries and appropriate technologies were introduced in response to residents' voiced needs. The authors tabled the merits and demerits of centralised, decentralised and farmers' nurseries.