Theobroma Cacao L. (Malvaceae) Agroecology in Kauai: A Case Study
Pacific Agriculture and National Resources
Theobroma cacao, Adoretus sinicus, Chinese Rose Beetle, Pollination, Herbivory
Theobroma cacao L. (cacao) is a widely cultivated tree of Neotropical origin and the source of cocoa beans and chocolate. Limited cocoa production is currently underway on the islands of Hawaii, but the factors that control T. cacao’s survival and fecundity outside of its native range remain poorly studied. Here we assess deficiencies in current knowledge of cacao ecology, and we establish research priorities for developing a profitable and renewable Hawaiian cacao farming program. We also present baseline data on fruit yield, herbivory, and insect community structure from a recently established organic cacao farm on the island of Kauai. Our observations indicate that non-native organisms, including the common agricultural pest, the Chinese rose beetle (Adoretus sinicus), may greatly affect the health and performance of Hawaiian cacao trees in both antagonistic and mutualistic ways.
Smith, Genevieve K.; Eben Gering; Rafael F. Guerrero; Emily Jane McTavish; and Tony Lydgate. 2009. "Theobroma Cacao L. (Malvaceae) Agroecology in Kauai: A Case Study." Pacific Agriculture and National Resources 1, (1): 21-26. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cnso_bio_facarticles/1000