As a project scientist for CABI, I have been given the task of managing the UNEP/GEF project: Mitigating the threats of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean. A major component of this project is to establish a regional strategy for dealing with invasives. To successfully accomplish this, I will draw on my 10 years spent at the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), six of which I was Assistant to the Caribbean Regional Director. At IICA I developed a relationship with the main regional organisations and personalities that are key in developing this strategy.
I have considerable expertise in agricultural development, specifically in monitoring and evaluating projects, information, communication, public relations and training. This was gained over a 15 year period at both IICA and the National Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO) and will serve me well in this new role where we will be collaborating with other key stakeholders in the region to put the issue of invasive alien species in the Caribbean in the front burner.
My experience as a core member of the team that developed the National Agricultural Marketing Information System for Trinidad and Tobago will assist me in one of the key functions of the Project Manager, which is to establish and maintain a website dedicated to promoting the issue of invasives in the Caribbean.
My training in managing teams of people will be put to use in overseeing a dynamic team of National Coordinators who will be charged with coordinating the project’s activities in five countries across the region.
CABI’s office in Trinidad and Tobago works with local partners to improve people’s livelihoods. The region is rich in natural resources but has significant social inequalities. Agriculture (particularly commodity crops) remains economically important for the area.
Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) is a major invasive plant in northern Australia. Previous biocontrol efforts have focused on insects but the Australian Government is now also keen to explore fungal pathogens. As experts, CABI is carrying out safety and efficacy experiments with the rust pathogen Phakopsora arthuriana using a strain originating from Trinidad. Results will help the Australian authorities decide whether this rust is suitable for biocontrol of J. gossypiifolia in Australia.
Many introduced species can have an adverse effect on native biodiversity, especially on a delicate island habitat such as Trinidad and Tobago. Three forest species are being particularly troubling, namely, Tectona grandis (teak), Acacia mangium (brown salwood) and Leucaena leucocephala (white leadtree). So, with funding from the FAO, CABI researched the species to find out how they behave and where they have invaded with a view to controlling them sustainably.
Start: 01/02/15 -End: 31/01/16
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