Eucalypt (Eucalyptus spp.) tree farming is a source of income for many smallholders in developing and emerging countries and critical to the resource supply of many pulp and paper companies. These companies rely on smallholders adopting tree farming, sometimes by offering a contract. This paper reports a study from four regions of Thailand, where smallholder eucalypt tree farming is important, which investigated what characteristics of smallholders were associated with greater adoption of tree farming. A total of 461 eucalypt tree farmers and 171 non-tree farmers were randomly selected and surveyed in these regions, using a door-to-door household survey. A logit analysis corroborated hypotheses about the drivers of adoption. Qualitative analyses were used to inform interpretation of the quantitative results and shed light on the role of eucalypt tree farming in smallholders' livelihood. Results demonstrate that those with suitable land available are more likely to adopt eucalypt tree farming than others. In addition, perception of land tenure security matters in the adoption of tree growing, but holding a formal land tenure document does not. Adoption of eucalypt tree farming in Thailand is not part of a land use intensification strategy. Instead, eucalypts are used as an alternative crop for low productivity land, on which eucalypts are the most profitable crop. Eucalypt tree farming also gives smallholders an opportunity to diversify their income. In addition, this alternative land use has the advantage of requiring low labour inputs between planting and harvest. This is particularly advantageous for many tree growers who have off-farm income or rely on hired labour for farming their land.