Demonstration of a sustainable approach to citriculture within a national wildlife refuge in the Indian River area

Robert C. Adair Jr., B. A. Norquist, G. K. Ross


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offi cials at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) were required to reduce chemical and other inputs to the citrus operations in the refuge. For several years the past operation of the groves using commercial citrus programs was not economically viable. The MINWR recognized that a sustainable agricultural approach to citrus management would reduce deleterious inputs from the citrus groves, and the Florida Research Center for Agricultural Sustainability (FlaRes) was interested in determining the horticultural and economic feasibility, along with environmental aspects, of such an approach at an operational scale. In 1996, the MINWR and FlaRes signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a Sustainable Citrus Program (SCP) that would accomplish these mutual goals. Later in 1998 the MOU was modifi ed to include the entire 1,000 acres of citrus groves located at the MINWR. FlaRes by this agreement managed the groves using its SCP, and collected, documented, and reported all agronomic, economic, and environmental details associated with the groves to the MINWR. In this paper we have condensed these reports with the intent to present the most salient fi ndings observed over a 12-year period of study. Among these fi ndings is included the effectiveness of two biorational fungicides, foliar fertilization, and a Geographic Information System (GIS) that was constructed to encompass all management and research areas.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283