This paper challenged the widespread use of incentives to farmers in community forestry projects. In the PROFOR project in Bolivia, incentives such as food-for-work and construction of roads created new problems, including disregard of forestry objectives, entrenched paternalism rather than participation, and conflict among beneficiaries. In general, forestry projects were too complacent in offering incentives, which often did more for the project than its clients. The author believed that ex-ante cost-benefit analyses of projects should be far more rigorous. Among other issues, he questioned the paradigm of attempting to foster autonomous sustainability in rural communities; perhaps development programmes would have to maintain long-term subsidies to pay for nationally valued externalities (e.g. watershed protection).