Melaleuca has been recognized as an invasive problem in south Florida for decades, and control strategies have been tested and implemented for almost as long. The TAME Melaleuca project provides an opportunity to step back and evaluate what we know about the melaleuca invasion and how the fight against its progressing.
The project's multi-faceted Evaluation component aims to assess different aspects of the melaleuca problem and proposed solutions. To evaluate melaleuca's current and historical distribution, an assortment of data collection techniques is being combined. Analysis of the resulting data will help us better define the status of melaleuca's spread outside of its native range as well as the impact of management efforts over the years.
Evaluations of the sociological and economic factors associated with melaleuca infestations in south Florida use surveys of property owners and managers to assess awareness of melaleuca as an invasive threat, awareness of management strategies, and the extent of adoption of recommended control strategies.
In addition, a cost-benefit analysis of control strategies and an analysis of regional economic impacts are being conducted to better understand the economic benefits of reducing melaleuca converage in Florida. Finally, at the TAME project demonstration sites, available control otions are being evaluated as to their effects on melaleuca, surrounding vegetation, and soil characteristics.
Altogether, the evaluation component of the project gives us a clearer picture of where we are in the struggle against melaleuca and where we need to go.