In the last decade or so, neem has been widely planted in Haiti. In fact, this tree is now one of the leading species for reforesting this much-denuded land. For example, one project funded by USAID has planted 200,000 neem trees as part of a road beautification program using seed imported from Africa in the late 1970s. Later, neem became a popular species for planting. The trees have grown so well that today neem seed is becoming a Haitian export. Approximately 40 tons were processed for azadirachtin by an American company in 1990. Since then, other companies have also sought to buy Haiti's neem seed.
Because the tree is a tropical species, it probably cannot be grown economically in the continental United States beyond South Florida. In South Florida, however, there are four mature neem trees (two in Miami and two in Fort Myers) and 50 smaller ones (in Homestead). There are also eight trees in the futuristic Biosphere 2.6
Of course, the tree can thrive in Hawaii and other locations in the American tropics. Researchers have already begun planting it in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, for example. A specimen planted at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1984 was nearly 10 m tall and fruiting heavily in 1991. And in 1989 the Hawaii State Senate passed a resolution supporting research and development of this "wonder tree."
Nineteenth century immigrants carried the tree from India to Fiji, and it has since spread to other islands in the South Pacific, even to Easter Island, which is hardly known as a place for trees. In Papua New Guinea neem was introduced at the beginning of the 1980s, mainly in the Port Moresby area.
This is a $150-million, 1.2-hectare set of glass and steel greenhouses in the desert near Tucson, Arizona, in which 8 humans are sealed for 2 years. The greenhouses are isolated from all inputs such as air, water, and fuel and are filled with plant and animal life, to represent a self-sustaining microcosm of the planet Earth (Biosphere 1).