We develop plant materials and plant technology to conserve the Caribbean Area's natural resources, including:
Developing cover crops, vegetative barriers, and windbreaks to control erosion on cropland.
Developing improved plants for wildlife food and cover.
Establishing vegetation after natural disasters.
Utilizing plants in disturbed areas, such as construction sites.
Establishing vegetative strips to improve water quality along waterways.
Utilizing native plants for ecosystem diversity.
Conservation Needs Addressed:
Plant establishment techniques and vegetative systems to improve surface and ground water quality.
Cover crops for highly erodible cropland.
Vegetative barriers and windbreaks for wind erosion control on cropland.
Plants and establishment techniques to provide wildlife habitat; stabilize the waterline and upper slopes of ditches, channels, ponds, reservoirs, and small perennial and intermittent streams; and improve water quality with filter strips, buffer strips, and bioengineering.
Native and introduced plants to improve pasturelands, control noxious weeds, and to stabilize critically eroding areas such as construction sites, road slopes, mine spoils, timber harvest areas, and recreational areas.
Improved seed mixes and techniques for use after natural disasters in both rural and urban interface areas to control soil erosion.
Location: 1,000 miles (1 ,600 kilometers) southeast of Miami; 3 3/4 hours by plane from Atlanta and New York, 4 hours from Boston and 2 1/2 hours from Miami.
Size: Approximately 100 by 35 miles (160 by 56 kilometers), roughly the size of Connecticut.
Climate: Tropical; annual temperatures average 82°F (28°C) with constant easterly trade winds. The U.S. Weather Bureau has never measured temperatures in San Juan below 70°F or higher than 97°F, 365 days a year, day or night.
The area served by the Caribbean Area Plant Materials Initiative has a unique, complex pattern of about 195 soils. The topography is characterized by valleys, rolling foothills, and rugged mountains. Elevation extremes range from 20 feet below sea level to 4,390 feet above sea level. Agriculture is extremely diversified, including tropical fruits and vegetables, extensive livestock production from native and improved pastures.