How do East African Communities Cope with the Impacts of Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite) Invasion? A Review

Caleb O. Obonyo, Haochen Zhu, Wenzhi He, Gashirayi L. Chinopfukutwa


Prosopis juliflora is an evergreen invasive plant native to South America, the Caribbean, and Central America. The plant is well adapted to harsh environmental conditions. As a result, it has spread to most arid and semi-arid areas of the world causing both positive and negative impacts. This study reviewed the adaptation/coping strategies adopted by East African communities as a result of the invasion by the plant. The review results showed that East African communities cope by using the plant for human food and animal feed, leasing the infested land, renting land from uninvaded areas, clearing the plant from farming, grazing land, waterways, paths and homesteads, and using it as fuel in form of firewood and charcoal among others. The communities living in the infested areas now almost entirely depend on the plant for livelihood. Some of the employed adaptations/ coping strategies were found to be inadequate and to have negative environmental impacts. In order to enhance the adaptations/ coping strategies, we recommend commercialization of the plant’s seed for animal feed and human food production, sensitization of the communities on the medicinal use of the plant and that programs to manage the plant should take into account the adaptations the communities have developed over time to avoid negative impacts on the communities’ livelihoods.

Keywords: Prosopis juliflora; Coping strategies; East Africa; Invasion; Pod

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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