This is published under the terms of CC-BY.
Relatively little attention has been paid to the economic potentials and limitations of tropical timber production and management at smallholder scales, with the most relevant research focusing on community forestry efforts. As a rare tropical example of long-lasting small-scale timber production, in this study we explore the economics of smallholder vertically integrated timber use to better understand the activity in the context of its primary land use alternative in the Amazon Estuary, açaí palm fruit production. We use data from landowner and firm surveys, participatory monitoring of firms, and detailed forest and sawmill operation monitoring to devise financial returns models of smallholder timber micro firms and açaí palm fruit production. We then compare the economics of the two activities to better understand how differences may shape decisions at the small holder scale that impact current land use shifts in the region.