A collaborative multi-agencies effort is developing control strategies to address the invasive plant species in Puerto Rico.  The primary purpose of this project is to support a proactive approach to confront invasive pests in Puerto Rico where interception and establishment of new pests from the Caribbean pathway is demonstrably high. Many, if not most, invasive pests of concern for the region first arrive in Puerto Rico. The project will establish scientific expertise in Puerto Rico to serve as a focal point and local coordinator of methods development activities. The project will directly benefit Puerto Rico growers by rapidly responding to the detection of new invasive pests thereby minimizing the impacts locally as well as reducing the likelihood of pests moving to the continental U.S. This project will also directly benefit nursery and specialty crops producers as well as large-scale commercial growers in Florida and at the national level by providing methods to effectively detect and manage invasive pests that threaten the U.S. through the Caribbean pathway.  Small growers, specialty crop producers and underserved communities are often those groups least able to deal with management and regulatory restrictions imposed while solutions to new pests problems are found. The main purpose of this effort is to create a strategic, front-line yet offshore approach to key invasive pests in Puerto Rico will help to minimize these impacts. Characterization of the pests’ biology, natural enemies host range are supporting the integrated use of cultural and classical biocontrol strategies to reduce pest population pressure and mitigate the damage associated to a species invasion.



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