Current and historic circumstances influencing developments in tropical forage research have produced distinct and intriguing contrasts between such programs in Asia and those in the Americas. Forage research and pasture development in tropical America expanded through most of the century just completed. Expansive natural grasslands and savannas of generally low productivity across much of South America were recognized as opportunities ready for development. In contrast, tropical grasslands in Asia were largely derived through shifting cultivation of forests and woodlands. Widespread dominance of these derived grasslands by the coarse, low-quality Imperata cylindrica in southeast Asia has contributed to their general image as wastelands. Agricultural research emphasis has been largely focused on production of food crops to support the large and expanding human population throughout Asia. As the twenty-first century begins, there is an overwhelming decrease in global support for pasture research in tropical America. At the same time, there is a new enthusiasm and expansion associated with tropical forage research in Asia.