What if a chain of coconut plantations had collapsed, destroying the entire ecosystem and leaving a dead zone of coconut trees across the island of Hispaniola?
The answer is, of course, no, says Dr. James L. Smith, a plant physiologist at the University of Florida.
“Coconut plantations are incredibly resilient, and we’re seeing them survive and thrive in the face of this sort of catastrophic event,” Smith says.
The coconut plantation crisis is now a global crisis, but it isn’t limited to the Caribbean.
Coconuts are a key crop that supports an estimated $1.5 trillion worth of economic activity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We know that the crops that are in decline are the crops with the most impact on human livelihoods and food security,” Smith said.
If you’re looking for an easy way to avoid the worst effects of a tropical coconut plantation collapse, take a look at these tips from experts at the International Coconut Planting Resource Center, or ICPLRC.
What if you were the one that planted a coconuts plantation, Smith said, and you had a problem?
“The coconut plantations that are there, we need to ensure that they’re going to be there for the long term, because there’s a very good chance that they will collapse.”
A coconut plantation is an arrangement of trees planted in a single spot.
Most of the time, the coconut trees grow at an annual rate of 1.5 feet (0.9 meters) per year.
But if the crop goes bad, and they’re growing in a drought, the tree will die.
Once a coconut plantation goes bad it will go into a period of dormancy, in which it will not produce fruit until it is at least 2 feet (60 centimeters) tall, according the ICPLCC.
That means the coconut plantations will eventually need to be moved to new locations.
“If you plant a coconut on a forest floor, it’s not going to survive, but if you plant it on a field it’s going to do just fine,” Smith explained.
“It doesn’t matter how much land you have or where you’re planting it.
You need to make sure that the coconut is going to produce food for people for a long time.”
To help ensure the survival of a coconut, Smith recommends planting the coconut under a canopy, which is a dense canopy of trees, shrubs, and grass.
You can also plant the coconut at the bottom of a hill or in a creek, which will allow for the trees to grow out of the ground, which would help stabilize the coconut plantation.
Placing a coconut in a coconut-friendly location will help protect the coconut from the damaging effects of drought, and help protect it from a collapsing coconut plantation, he added.
Smith says that if you live in an area where the coconut plant is threatened, plant the tree at an area that’s not heavily impacted by drought.
He also recommends planting in areas where coconut plantations are abundant and are not being used for the production of food.
For more information on planting coconut trees in your area, visit ICPLBC.org.