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.
- Damages fishing equipment
- Thorns can kill livestock
- High water usage
- Reduces native biodiversity
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
What’s the solution?
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.
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.
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