The objective of this paper is to provide up-to-date empirical information on the expansion of P. juliflora, its environmental and livelihood impacts, and the performance of past and current management strategies in the Middle Awash Valley (MAV), Ethiopia. This study was based on data collected using focus group discussion, key informant interviews, and field observation. The results show that P. juliflora has expanded rapidly and invaded valuable grazing and croplands, and settlement areas. The rapid expansion of P. juliflora in the study area is attributed to climate change (increased temperature and declined rainfall), its ecological competition, spreading of seeds by wild animals and pastoral (mobile livestock) livelihood system, and recent occurrences of flood and drought-induced pasture scarcity that has forced livestock to eat more P. juliflora seed pods. Also, delays in the use of land cleared for farming activity have created good opportunities for Prosopis expansion. The perception and views of people on the benefits of P. juliflora and management options vary according to livelihood systems and stakeholder types (e.g., environmental managers and pastoralists). The attempted management strategies to eradicate P. juliflora (cutting, burning, and bulldozering or converting into economic utilization by making charcoal, fodder, and furniture) failed to achieve the intended outcomes. These management interventions failed due to many reasons. Some of these were the rapid rate of P. juliflora expansion triggered by the recurrent drought, severe scarcity of pasture that forced livestock to eat P. juliflora’s seed pods and travel into new areas, inadequate technologies to aid utilization and eradication, inability to collect sufficient quantity of pods to produce fodder for livestock, and absence of sufficient and satisfactory markets for the end-product (fodder). The results generally imply the need for urgent policy and management interventions. This study also highlights important issues that should be considered in introducing and implementing management strategies in the future.
Shackleton RT, Le Maitre DC, Pasiecznik, NM, Richardson DM. Prosopis: a global assessment of the biogeography, benefits, impacts and management of one of the world's worst woody invasive plant taxa. AoB Plants 2014; 6: 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plu027
Shiferaw H, Teketay D, Nemomissa S, Assefa F. Some biological characteristics that foster the invasion of Prosopis juliflora at Middle Awash Rift Valley Area, north-eastern Ethiopia. Journal of Arid Environments 2004; 58: 135-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2003.08.011
Choge SK, Clement N, Gitonga M, Okuye J. Status report on commercialization of Prosopis tree resources in Kenya. Technical report for the KEFRI/KFS Technical Forest Management and Research Liaison Committee. Nairobi: KEFRI. 2012.
Mehari ZH. The invasion of Prosopis juliflora and Afar pastoral livelihoods in the Middle Awash area of Ethiopia. Ecological Processes 2015; 4: 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13717-015-0039-8
Wakie TT, Laituri M, Evangelista PH. Assessing the distribution and impacts of Prosopis juliflora through participatory approaches. Applied Geography 2016; 66: 132-143. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2015.11.017
Rouget M, Richardson DM, Nel J, Le Maitre DC, Egoh B, Mgidi T. Mapping potential ranges of major plant invaders in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland using climatic suitability. Diversity and Distributions 2004; 10: 475-484. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1366-9516.2004.00118.x
Nie W, Yuan Y, Kepner W, Erickson C, Jackson M. Hydrological impacts of mesquite encroachment in the upper San Pedro watershed. Journal of Arid Environments 2012; 82: 147-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.02.008
Laxén J. Is Prosopis a curse or a blessing? An ecological and economic analysis of an invasive alien tree species in Sudan. In: Lukkanan O, ed. Tropical forestry reports. Finland: VITRI, University of Helsinki, 1-199. 2007.
Ndhlovu T, Milton-Dean SJ, Esler KJ. Impact of Prosopis (mesquite) invasion and clearing on the grazing capacity of semiarid Nama Karoo rangeland, South Africa. African Journal of Range and Forage Science 2011; 28: 129-137. https://doi.org/10.2989/10220119.2011.642095
Bokrezion H. The ecological and socio-economic role of Prosopis juliflora in Eritrea: an analytical assessment within the context of rural development in the Horn of Africa. PhD Thesis, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. 2008.
Maundu P, Kibet S, Morimoto Y, Imbumi M, Adeka R. Impacts of Prosopis juliflora on Kenya's semi-arid and arid ecosystems and local livelihoods. Biodiversity 2009; 10: 33-50. https://doi.org/10.1080/14888386.2009.9712842
Kumar S, Mathur M. Impact of invasion by Prosopis juliflora on plant communities in arid grazing lands. Tropical Ecology 2014; 55: 33-46.
Zeray N, Legesse B, Mohamed JH, Aredo MK. (). Impacts of Prosopis juliflora invasion on livelihoods of pastoral and agro-pastoral households of Dire Dawa Administration, Ethiopia. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 2017; 7: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13570-017-0079-z
Alban L, Matorel M, Romero J, Grados N, Cruz G, Felker P. Cloning of elite, multipurpose trees of the Prosopis juliflora/pallida complex in Piura, Peru. Agroforestry System 2002; 54: 173-182. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016093106338
Wise RM., van Wilgen BW, Le Maitre DC. Costs, benefits and management options for an invasive alien tree species: the case of mesquite in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 2012; 84: 80-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.03.001
Njoroge E, Sirmah P, Mburu F, Koech E, Mware M, Chepkwony J. Preference and adoption of farmer field school (FFS) Prosopis juliflora management practices: experiences in Baringo District, Kenya. Forestry Studies in China 2012; 14: 283-290. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11632-012-0410-0
Shackleton RT, Le Maitre DC, van Wilgen BW, Richardson DM. Use of non-timber forest products from invasive alien Prosopis species (mesquite) and native trees in South Africa: implications for management. Forest Ecosystem 2015; 2: 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40663-015-0040-9
Ilukor J, Rettberg S, Treydte AC, Birner R. To eradicate or not to eradicate? Recommendations on Prosopis juliflora management in Afar, Ethiopia, from an interdisciplinary perspective. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice 2016; 6: 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13570-016-0061-1
Bekele N, Kebede G. Rangeland degradation and restoration in semi-arid areas of southern Ethiopia: The case of Borana rangeland. International Journal of Environmental Sciences 2014; 3: 94-103.
Admasu, D. Invasive plants and food security: The case of Prosopis juliflora in the Afar region of Ethiopia. FARM-Africa, IUCN. 2008.
Shiferaw H, Schaffner U, Bewket W, Alamirew T, Zeleke G, Teketay D, Eckert S. Modelling the current fractional cover of an invasive alien plant and drivers of its invasion in a dryland ecosystem. Scientific Reports 2019; 9: 1576. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-36587-7
Tilahun M, Birner R, Ilukor J. Household-level preferences for mitigation of Prosopis juliflora invasion in the Afar region of Ethiopia: a contingent valuation. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 2017; 60: 282-308. https://doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2016.1152955
Haregeweyn N, Tsunekawa A, Tsubo M, Meshesha D, Melkie A. Analysis of the invasion rate, impacts and control measures of Prosopis juliflora: A case study of Amibara District, Eastern Ethiopia. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2013; 185; 7527-7542. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-013-3117-3
Wakie TT, Evangelista PH, Jarnevich CS, Laituri M. Mapping Current and Potential Distribution of Non-Native Prosopis juliflora in the Afar region of Ethiopia. PLOS ONE 2014; 9: 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112854
Birhane E, Treydte AC, Eshete A, Solomon N, Hailemariam M. Can rangelands gain from bush encroachment? Carbon stocks of communal grazing lands invaded by Prosopis juliflora. Journal of Arid Environments 2017; 141: 60-67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2017.01.003
Berhanu A, Tesfaye G. The Proposis dilemma, impacts on dryland biodiversity and some controlling methods. Journal of Drylands 2006; 1: 158-164.
Tessema YA. Ecological and economic dimensions of the paradoxical invasive species- Prosopis juliflora and policy challenges in Ethiopia. Journal of Economics Sustainability and Development 2012; 3: 62-70.
Rettberg S. Contested narratives of pastoral vulnerability and risk in Ethiopia's Afar region. Pastoralism 2010; 1: 248-273.
Degefu MA, Assen M, Satyal P, Budds B. Villagization and access to water resources in the Middle Awash Valley of Ethiopia: implications for climate change adaptation. Climate and Development 2020; 12: 899-910. https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2019.1701973
Conway D. Schipper ELF. Adaptation to climate change in Africa: Challenges and opportunities identified from Ethiopia. Global Environmental Change 2011; 21: 227-237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.07.013
Kyuma RK, Wahome RG, Kinama JM, Wasonga VO. Temporal relationship between climate variability, Prosopis juliflora invasion and livestock numbers in the drylands of Magadi, Kenya. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 2016; 10: 129-140. https://doi.org/10.5897/AJEST2015.2034
Borokini TI, Babalola FD. Management of invasive plant species in Nigeria through economic exploitation: lessons from other countries. Management of Biological Invasions 2012, 3: 45-55. https://doi.org/10.3391/mbi.2012.3.1.05
Suliman M, Nawata H, Hoshino B, Fangama IM. Understating dilemma and sophism of Prosopis juliflora eradication in Sudan. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Science 2015; 4: 10-16.
FDRE-MLF (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries). National Strategy on Prosopis juliflora Management. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2017
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2022 Mekonnen Adnew Degefu, Mohammed Assen, Roger Few, Mark Tebboth