We examine the economic incentive and the factors affecting tree planting by rural households in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Data are from a household survey conducted in three districts of Lam Dong province. A financial analysis is undertaken to identify the economic incentive and a Heckman econometric regression model is used to examine the determinants of tree planting. Our results show that tree planting is financially more profitable than leaving land abandoned. However, the decision and intensity of tree planting by rural households are affected by various factors representing household characteristics, farm endowment, bio-physical factors, social-institutional support, and the perception of farmers about forestland expropriation risk. We suggest these factors be considered in reforestation programs in the future.