Crop Diversification Complexity and Pest and Beneficial Organism Communities in Humid Tropical and Sub-Tropical Climatic Regimes
Carlene Chase, University of Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuart A. Weiss email@example.com
Danielle Treadwell firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert McSorley email@example.com
Oscar Liburd firstname.lastname@example.org
Marilyn Swisher email@example.com
The warm, humid climate in Florida, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and other subtropical US states and territories is both an advantage and a disadvantage for vegetable producers. The tropical/sub-tropical climate permits year-round cropping. mild winters in sub-tropical regions and the lack of a winter cold season allow pests to persist from season to season. In addition, pest species occur throughout the region that do not persist outside tropical and sub-tropical habitats. Similarly, the high precipitation regime characteristic of the region encourages year-round persistence of many pest populations. Insect, weed and nematode populations in organic vegetable cropping systems may be effectively managed through crop rotation, intercropping, and cover crop management.
The long term goal of this project is to develop strategies using cover crops, crop rotation and intercropping to maintain soil quality and reduce pest pressure in organic vegetable cropping systems in humid tropical and sub-tropical climatic regimes.
Anticipated Outcomes and Benefits
Production systems that include cover crops during fallow periods benefit from reduced nitrate losses due to leaching, reduced soil erosion, and increased organic matter and related effects on soil tilth and cation exchange capacity. Agroecosystem diversification can maintain soil nutrient pools, project soil quality, provide improved pest suppression, and enhance ecosystem services.
This project was a multi-institutional project. The University of Florida (UF), Gainesville is the lead institution. The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is collaborating and Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG) is cooperating.
University of the Virgin Islands
Agricultural Experiment Station
RR 1 Box 10,000
Kingshill, VI 00850
Telephone: (340) 692-4020 Fax: (340) 692-4035