Important knowledge about woody invasive species and how to manage them was shared at a stakeholder engagement workshop in Tanzania at the end of November 2015.
The workshop was held during a Woody Weeds project meeting in Amani Nature Reserve and local, regional and national stakeholders were invited to find out about the programme and have their say on how these invasive species affect livelihoods.
Around 30 stakeholders joined the project team, including the Tanga region commissioner, the Conservator of Amani Nature Reserve, the Director-General of the Tanzanian Forest Research Institute (TAFORI), as well as several village executives and village chairs.
In group exercises, participants shared knowledge about woody invasive species in the region and sustainable management techniques used to control them.
Workshop attendees also identified stakeholders that were seen as the most relevant for the management of woody weeds in Tanzania. These audiences were prioritised by considering how they were potentially able to help tackle the problem and their current engagement with the issue.
The meeting noted that some stakeholders may be unaware of the impacts the weeds have on livelihoods or currently not affected. The project and local stakeholders will work to engage with these important stakeholders in Tanzania to help improve the management of woody weeds.
We thank the participants in the workshop for their time and enthusiastic input, and look forward to future collaboration.
René Eschen, CABI
Stakeholders and project participants during the one-day workshop. (Photo: René Eschen/CABI)
Stakeholders explained to the other participants in the workshop how woody weeds affect them. (Photo: René Eschen/CABI)
Local stakeholders participating in the workshop. (Photo: René Eschen/CABI)
Deciding which stakeholders are key for woody weeds management. (Photo: René Eschen/CABI)
Tanzanian stakeholders discuss sustainable land management and how it affects woody weeds. (Photo: René Eschen/CABI)
The Baringo district northwest of Nairobi is one of the regions in Kenya where a number of mesquite species, Prosopis spp., were introduced some 40 years ago as part of poverty alleviation efforts. The trees were intended to provide, among other benefits, additional income.
Today Baringo is one of the most heavily invaded regions in eastern Africa, with severe consequences for the rural communities. As part of the kick-off meeting of the project the project team visited the district, one of the case study areas.
During this two-day visit, two communities were visited which suffered from high Prosopis invasion levels. These communities gave an interesting first insight into the dilemmas that have arisen due to Prosopis invasion. The first community we visited utilizes Prosopis for charcoal production and hopes to benefit in the future also from selling Prosopis wood to a local power plant; by utilizing this invasive species the community members gain some financial benefits and at the same time reduce the impacts of this plant on their land.
Irrespective of how the local communities deal with this invasive species, one of the main challenges in management is to find ways to slow down or reduce the spread of Prosopis and mitigate its negative impacts in Baringo (and elsewhere). While the government of Kenya supports local communities in utilizing Prosopis, there is, so far, little scientific evidence that utilization indeed slows down or even stops the spread of this aggressive invader.
One of the key tasks of the project will therefore be the evaluation of the impacts on the environment and rural livelihoods of the various management options against Prosopis and other woody invasive species, such as management by utilization, physical, chemical or biological control, or doing nothing, and to inform decision-makers about the key findings.