Introduction Falling commodity prices, droughts, dying towns, bank foreclosures, high suicide rates (particularly among indigenous Australians and young males), decreasing access to services, and environmental degradation all form part of life in contemporary rural Australia (Lockie and Bourke 2001). The litany of crises affecting the bush has become such a mainstay of the urban media as to appear commonplace. While politicians claim they never forgot the bush, the rise of the populist right-wing One Nation Party in the late 1990s certainly helped ensure that political concern for the plight of rural Australians is now proclaimed at every opportunity. Rural people are looking for solutions, and there are plenty of people with solutions to offer. From deregulation of labour and commodity markets to the redefinition of private property rights and investment in natural resource management, there are many proffered strategies. Within this mix, plantation forestry appears, at face value, to have much to offer. But it is also apparent that, for many rural communities, experience of plantation forestry, to date, has not been promising. Complex problems demand complex answers which no single strategy can provide.