adaptive-background

Prosopis

Preferred Scientific Name: Prosopis juliflora

Prosopis is an incredibly aggressive invasive species which invades a wide range of habitats.

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Why is it a problem?

Prosopis is an aggressive large shrub or tree which invades a wide range of habitats, especially riparian zones in semi-arid and arid regions where it forms impenetrable thickets. It reduces precious underground water resources, displaces valuable pasture species and the thorns can puncture tyres and cause serious injury to livestock and people. It is also known to invade valuable crop lands.

Impacts

  • Damages fishing equipment
  • Thorns can kill livestock
  • High water usage
  • Reduces native biodiversity
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods

What’s the solution?

Manual control

Prosopis can be removed manually, but since it grows in such dense clusters, this work is very labour intensive. This method is usually only adopted in countries where labour is cheap. Aerial application of systemic herbicides can be effective, depending on chemical uptake. Other herbicides require application every 5 - 7 years.

Biological control

Bruchid beetles have been widely introduced in South Africa, as they feed solely on Prosopis. They feed on the seeds of the weed, this helps to prevent it spreading. A psyllid that limits the growth of Prosopis has also been released.

Stories related to this content

Grace Kiseku

Grace Kiseku

Kenya

Grace is the Assistant Head of her village near Lake Baringo, Kenya. She and her neighbours are pastoralists so graze their livestock (sheep, cattle and goats) on the land around the village.

Zeneba Abdul

Zeneba Abdul

Ethiopia

“It’s like HIV for the environment” is how Zeneba Abdul described Prosopis, which is leading to reduced herd size, deteriorating arable land and social tensions in her community in Eastern Ethiopia.

Fact file

Name Prosopis

Distribution

Asia, Africa, Hawaii, Central/South America & Oceania

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here

Habitat

Wet soil and tropical/ subtropical forests

Natural enemies

A variety pests can control the spread of Prosopis, however many of them also feed on crop or native plants

Invasiveness

Benefits from mutilation and burning. Highly adaptive and spreads rapidly 

Likelihood of entry

High risk deliberate introduction

Climate

Tropical/ subtropical

Plant type

Shrub/ tree

Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
Invasive Species Compendium

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