Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENING THE EVERGLADES & OTHER NATURAL AND MANANGED SYSTEMS

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Collaborative efforts for managing Melaleuca in the Ciénega de Zapata, Cuba

Authors
item Girdina, Dennis -
item Diaz, Rodigo -
item Pratt, Paul
item Overholt, William -

Submitted to: Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2014
Publication Date: April 28, 2014
Citation: Girdina, D., Diaz, R., Pratt, P.D., Overholt, W. 2014. Collaborative efforts for managing Melaleuca in the Ciénega de Zapata, Cuba. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary: The Ciénega de Zapata Biosphere Reserve is the largest protected area not only in Cuba but also throughout the Caribbean. This swamp ecosystem is characterized by a high biodiversity that comprises several endemic birds, reptiles and invertebrates and is visited by 65 species of birds during their annual migrations from North America to South America. Endemic fauna include the Zapata wren (Ferminia cerverai), Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai), Zapata sparrow (Torreornis inexpectata) and the Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer). Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia) was introduced into the Zapata swamp in 1959 to stabilize canals. In the last decade, large infestations of melaleuca have been documented in several locations of the swamp. The purpose of this presentation will be to describe the joint collaboration between Florida and Cuba to develop a management plan against melaleuca in the Zapata swamp. A series of presentations about the management of melaleuca in Florida were given at the International Wetlands Research Symposium held in November 2013 in Matanzas, Cuba. During this symposium, different aspects of the weed were covered including the history and impacts of melaleuca in Florida and the different management tactics being employed such as chemical, mechanical, fire and biological control. Based on the experience in Florida, we suggest chemical control would be the quickest, most cost-effective way to eliminate large stands of melaleuca in natural areas without negative impacts to the environment. It can be accomplished with a minimal amount of training for work crews and inexpensive cutting and application equipment (machetes and hand-held pump sprayers). We will further discuss how to integrate other management options including fire and biological control, and the importance of international collaboration to help protect this important ecosystem.

Technical Abstract: The Ciénega de Zapata Biosphere Reserve is the largest protected area not only in Cuba but also throughout the Caribbean. This swamp ecosystem is characterized by a high biodiversity that comprises several endemic birds, reptiles and invertebrates and is visited by 65 species of birds during their annual migrations from North America to South America. Endemic fauna include the Zapata wren (Ferminia cerverai), Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai), Zapata sparrow (Torreornis inexpectata) and the Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer). Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia) was introduced into the Zapata swamp in 1959 to stabilize canals. In the last decade, large infestations of melaleuca have been documented in several locations of the swamp. The purpose of this presentation will be to describe the joint collaboration between Florida and Cuba to develop a management plan against melaleuca in the Zapata swamp. A series of presentations about the management of melaleuca in Florida were given at the International Wetlands Research Symposium held in November 2013 in Matanzas, Cuba. During this symposium, different aspects of the weed were covered including the history and impacts of melaleuca in Florida and the different management tactics being employed such as chemical, mechanical, fire and biological control. Based on the experience in Florida, we suggest chemical control would be the quickest, most cost-effective way to eliminate large stands of melaleuca in natural areas without negative impacts to the environment. It can be accomplished with a minimal amount of training for work crews and inexpensive cutting and application equipment (machetes and hand-held pump sprayers). We will further discuss how to integrate other management options including fire and biological control, and the importance of international collaboration to help protect this important ecosystem.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page