Ecological and Economic Dimensions of the Paradoxical Invasive Species- Prosopis juliflora and Policy Challenges in Ethiopia

Yibekal Abebe Tessema


Prosopis juliflora, a dry land tree or shrub, introduced in Ethiopia in the 1970’s for land reclamation and windbreak has become a serious policy challenge. The species has replaced large areas of pasture lands and has grown to be a noxious weed in Ethiopia. It has had serious repercussions on the biodiversity of the area, and livelihood of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Despite the potential of the species for various uses, in Ethiopia Prosopis juliflora is only utilized for animal feed, fencing and charcoal at smaller scale. The conventional control methods are expensive and it could be argued that the utilization of the species is the best option to control the invasion for many invaded areas. There is an urgent need for identification and implementation of optimal strategies in Ethiopia which, however, seems very difficult given the absence of clear national policies and strategies in the management of invasive species.

Keywords: invasive species, Prosopis juliflora, pasture, pastoral, biodiversity

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