National strategies for managing woody weeds published

The management of woody alien invasive plants is a complex undertaking, and to achieve the goals of management effectively requires a strategic approach. Two African countries have recently published national strategies for managing alien invasive Prosopis trees.

Prosopis management in Ethiopia. Photo: Urs Schaffner, CABI

In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries published its “National strategy on Prosopis juliflora management” in January 2017. This official document presents a strategy aimed at i) preventing the expansion of Prosopis to uninvaded areas, ii) reclaiming and restoring invaded areas after Prosopis clearance and iii) sustainably managing Prosopis for productive use and increasing biodiversity through the regulation and coordination of Prosopis management initiatives. In February 2017, researchers from Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Invasion Biology published a proposal for a national strategy for the management of Prosopis in South Africa. This strategy considered all available control methods (including biological control, control through utilisation, and different combinations of chemical and mechanical control), and these were compared in terms of costs, effectiveness, and potential to create employment. The strategy concluded that biological control and more mechanised approaches were important, but that the effectiveness of control through utilisation requires urgent research to establish its potential usefulness before it is widely implemented. Both of these strategies provide essential frameworks within which the outputs of the Woody Weeds project can be placed. It is our intention to develop proposals for similar strategies for Kenya and Tanzania.

Ethiopia’s National Strategy on Prosopis juliflora Management

Ross T. Shackleton, David C. Le Maitre, Brian W. van Wilgen and David M. Richardson. Towards a national strategy to optimise the management of a widespread invasive tree (Prosopis species; mesquite) in South Africa. Ecosystem Services, 2017