Barriers to effective management of Prosopis species in South Africa
Some management projects against invasive alien plants have limited success, mainly due to barriers which can create obstacles or conditions that hinder, delay or divert the effectiveness of management practices. To overcome barriers it is important to identify them at an early stage, as well as from multiple viewpoints because different stakeholders are involved. Stakeholders face different challenges and all have an unique perspective which should be addressed when forming management plans and policies. The genus Prosopis is widely recognized as one of the worst and most widespread invasive tree taxa in the world. Several species from the genus have naturalized and/or become invasive leading to negative impacts and conflicts of interest around use and management. Prosopis species were first introduced into South Africa in the late 1800s and were distributed to farmers to provide fodder and shade for livestock and firewood. Since their introduction, Prosopis species have invaded more than 1.8 million ha of natural land in South Africa. Using a combination of questionnaires and workshops, four key stakeholder groups (academics, farmers, managers and workers) involved with different stages of the management of Prosopis species were engaged. More than 100 barriers were identified ranging from limited knowledge, to insufficient funds, to conflicts of interest. There were key differences to how stakeholders perceived barriers; most farmers (>80 %) placed high importance on the lack of planning and poor management as the main barriers, whereas few managers (<20 %) regarded these aspects as important. Among the most important barriers to effective management were the lack of adequate funds and factors relating to the ecology of species.
Shackleton RT, Maitre DC, Wilgen BW, Richardson DM (2016) Identifying barriers to effective management of widespread invasive alien trees: Prosopis species (mesquite) in South Africa as a case study. Global Environmental Change 38, 183-194.