In CARDI our Natural Resource Management thrust emphasises three priority areas: Invasive species, Climate change< and Biotechnology.

Invasive Species

Invasive species

The Caribbean, like the rest of the world, faces the challenge of the increased risk of introduction and establishment of alien invasive species due to increased travel and trade. CARDI is the chair of the Caribbean Invasive Species Working Group (CISWG) which was formed out of events arising from dialogue among relevant entities within the Caribbean Basin (CARICOM and non CARICOM territories including Florida) concerned with finding a strategy for safeguarding the Region from invasive species. Other members of CISWG are CARICOM Secretariat, University of Florida, CAB International, CIRAD, FAO, IICA, PAHO, USDA APHIS, University of West Indies and the University of Puerto Rico. Ministries of Agriculture (CARICOM and non CARICOM) also have representation.

The main objectives of CISWG are:

  • To develop strategies which safeguard the Caribbean against attacks by invasive species
  • To prevent, as far as possible, the introduction of alien invasive species
  • To develop strategies for those which do manage to enter the Region

CARDI has been monitoring the activities of CISWG at the wider regional level, as well as those of specific national efforts. These include:

  • The Caribbean Pathway Analysis which is being executed by CISWIG with project leader Heike Meissner of USDA/APHIS Plant Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Laboratory, Raleigh, NC.
  • The Red Palm Mite: The Red Palm Mite, Raioella indica, presents a serious threat to the regional coconut industry with yield losses of well over 50% reported at some locations. CARDI is attempting to co-ordinate the Caribbean activities to manage this pest. The Institute is attempting to obtain international help from the Government of India and also the Commonwealth Secretariat in this effort. Regionally, CARDI has been involved in government control programmes in Dominica, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Other invasive species: The recent arrival/discovery of the Lime swallowtail butterfly, Papilio demoleus, and the resurgence of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), have been of concern to the Jamaican Government. CARDI, as a member of the Jamaica National Plant Health Coordinating Committee, has participated in all the relevant subcommittees convened to develop national strategies for management of the spread of these pests.

Climate Change

Climate Change

As the premiere agricultural research organisation in the Caribbean, CARDI has an important role in developing and articulating the sector’s response to the effects of global climate change. This role is being carried out by working closely with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) in the development of the requisite programmes for the agricultural sector. These programmes are to improve knowledge sharing and capability among personnel and increase infrastructural capacity to measure climatic parameters and relate them to agricultural production and productivity in the Caribbean. This is all in an effort to increase the ability of the region’s agricultural sector to adapt to and mitigate against global climate change.

Some of the specific actions we have pursued in furtherance of the objectives above are:

  • Conduct of greenhouse gases (GHG) inventory for the agricultural sector in Jamaica
  • Participation in a workshop of Caribbean stakeholders to start the implementation of the project Regional Consultation to Assess Regional Priorities, Capabilities and Research Gaps on Climate Change and Poverty Reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Participation in a workshop to assist with the preparation of the Vulnerability and Adaptation (V&A) Assessments for the water resources and agricultural sectors in Jamaica




Modern agriculture has been revolutionised by biotechnology and CARDI, along with its partners, has sought to bring the benefits of the technology to bear on Caribbean agriculture. Though we currently no longer have the physical facilities at CARDI Barbados, in the past CARDI has multiplied large numbers of banana, plantain, cassava, sweet potato, anthurium and fern for export to CARICOM countries on order. However, there are laboratories of various complexities and capacities in Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago with some micropropagation capacities. The University of the West Indies (UWI) has facilities and skills to allow for work using recombinant DNA technology. We collaborate with some of these laboratories.

  • CARDI routinely uses Tissue Blot Immuno Assay (TBIA) in Ratoon Stunting Disease (RSD) diagnosis of sugarcane
  • Our most significant foray into applied biotechnology is our collaborative effort with the UWI (Cave Hill Campus, Barbados) and the Barbados Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the DNA fingerprinting of the Barbados Blackbelly sheep. Putative unique markers have been identified to confirm individuals as being purebred Barbados Blackbelly Sheep. This suggests that given blood sample from any phenotypic Barbados Blackbelly Sheep it can be ascertained whether or not it is purebred.




Biosafety: an introduction. Biosafety: an introduction. [2004]. John M and Umaharan P. PSC # TT/007/04. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute. Download PDF factsheet


Genetically modified organisms and you: frequently asked questions. June 2006. John M. PSC # TT/003/05. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.


Clarke-Harris D and Lauckner B. 2005. Some research efforts to deal with invasive species in the CARICOM region. Paper presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Food Crops Society, Gosier, Guadeloupe, July 10-16, 2005.

Paul C L. 2001.Agricultural biotechnology and food security: implications for the Caribbean. A paper presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Food Crops Society, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 15-20 July 2001

Technical Publications

Roberts C, Ramsubag A and Umaharan P. 2003. The impact of tissue culture in the English speaking Caribbean. International Journal of Island Affairs, INSULA, Year 12: 11-16

For Publications on Related Topics: Plant Genetic Resources; Seed Sector; Soil and Water Management