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Use of non-timber forest products from invasive alien Prosopis species (mesquite) and native trees in South Africa: implications for management

Use of non-timber forest products from invasive alien Prosopis species (mesquite) and native... Background: Prosopis species have been introduced to many areas outside their native range to provide benefits to local communities. Several Prosopis species and their hybrids (hereafter “mesquite”) have, however, become naturalised and invasive and now generate substantial costs. Management options are limited because of the complex conflicts of interest regarding benefits and costs. Management policies and strategies must take account of such conflicts, but further insights are needed on the dimensions of uses and impacts before such information can be usefully applied. Current policy in South Africa allows for the growth and use of mesquite in one province, but not in others where its control is mandatory. We report on a study to quantify the direct use and perceptions of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) from mesquite and native trees in South Africa. Methods: Semi-structures household interviews were conducted with various stakeholder groups to identify what tree products are used, to ascertain amounts used as well as to gauge perceptions of natural resource use between different tree species and use over time. Results: The direct household use value of native trees was higher than that of mesquite, and local stakeholders attached greater value to products from native trees than from mesquite. Therefore, native trees are and will still be preferentially harvested, and mesquite is unlikely to offer protection to native species by providing an alternative source of products. Mesquite pods do, however, provide valuable additional resources (fodder and medicinal products). The use of both native trees and mesquite is decreasing as the incomes of poorer households rise and as alternative energy sources become available. The benefits and reliance on mesquite are not as high as previously assumed and the impacts from mesquite invasions create large problems for local communities. Conclusion: This study provides further evidence that the impacts of mesquite exceed the benefits, lending support for a policy to reduce negative impacts. Keywords: Biological invasions; Conflicts of interests; Cost vs. benefit; Management; Policy; Tree invasions Background associated with these invasions often increase as the General introduction plants spread (Shackleton et al. 2007a; Kull et al. 2011). Thousands of plant species have been introduced to new This typically results in the emergence of complex con- locations by humans, especially during the last three flicts of interest, with some stakeholders calling for centuries, to serve many purposes (Richardson 2011). eradication or control of the invaders, while others pro- Many have naturalised and some have become invasive mote their continued use (Shaanker et al. 2010; Kannan (Rejmánek and Richardson 2013). Invasive plants often et al. 2014; Shackleton et al. 2014; van Wilgen and Rich- supply benefits to societies in their new ranges, but costs ardson 2014). Some invasive plant taxa (e.g., Acacia and Pinus species) are commercially important for forestry and agroforestry (Richardson 2011), while many others * Correspondence: rtshackleton@gmail.com 1 (e.g., Acacia mearnsii, Opuntia ficus-indica and Prosopis Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, species) provide useful resources such as fuelwood, Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © 2015 Shackleton et al.; licensee Springer. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 2 of 11 fodder and fruit, and are important for local livelihoods 2012). The presumed benefits of these species limit (Pasiecznik et al. 2001; de Neergaard et al. 2005; Shackleton management options and lead to contradictory policies et al. 2007a, 2011; Richardson et al. 2015). However, these in many developing countries, while costs associated same species also cause substantial costs to local livelihoods with the invasions continue to rise. For example, in the and the environment (Shackleton et al. 2014; van Wilgen Northern Cape province, South Africa, mesquite is listed and Richardson 2014). as a “Category 3” invasive “species” which means that Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are all biological the genus may remain in the prescribed area/province, materials other than timber that are harvested from but further planting, propagation or trade is prohibited – trees for use and sale at the household level (De Ber and expect for the pods from mesquite which are exempted, McDermott 1989). These include native and introduced and may be used on private land. In other South African species (Cunningham 2001). NTFPs are utilised for provinces, mesquite is a “Category 1” invader which means subsistence and commercial gain all over the world that invasive populations must be controlled (although the (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004) and account for 20 % regulations do allow for ongoing use of pods) (NEM:BA, of the incomes of rural poor communities on average 2004; Act No. 10 of 2004: Alien and Invasive Lists 2014) and are used by more than 85 % of households in urban (Department of Environmental Affairs 2014). This means areas of southern Africa (Shackleton et al. 2007b; that any trading of products derived from mesquite is illegal Davenport et al. 2012). The use and trade of NTFPs has in South Africa. Similarly, policy in Kenya states that potential to be used for poverty alleviation and social mesquite should be managed though utilisation to reduce upliftment in developing countries in a sustainable way rates of spread and impacts while at the same time benefit- (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004); this includes various ting local communities. This policy is controversial as it initiatives to promote the utilisation of invasive alien limits control options; for example biological control is species of Acacia and Prosopis (Choge and Chikamai excluded (Shackleton et al. 2014). Such policies that seek to 2004; Pasiecznik et al. 2006; Shackleton et al. 2007a). reduce impacts while seeking to benefit communities are The introduction of invasive species can bring benefits widespread in developing countries. The situation is very by supplying more NTFPs or novel NTFPs, but can sim- different in developed countries, where social upliftment ultaneously be detrimental to natural resources, chan- does not feature in strategies for dealing with invasive spe- ging traditional patterns of resource use in a positive or cies. In Australia, for example, mesquite is listed as a weed negative way (Shackleton et al. 2007a). For example, in of national significance and legislation does not allow for South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, 90 % of house- utilisation (Australian Weeds Committee 2012). Similarly, holds used invasive alien Acacia species (wattles) as their European regulations issued in 2015 do not make it easy to primary heat source, and 19 % of households relied on utilise products from any invasive species (European Union wattles for cash incomes (de Neergaard et al. 2005). The 2014). Utilisation of natural resources is crucial for local sale of fruit from invasive stands of Opuntia ficus-indica livelihoods and social upliftment in developing countries in the Eastern Cape amounted to 9 % of the yearly in- (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004). Sustainable strat- come of collector’s households (Shackleton et al. 2011). egies for dealing with “conflict of interest” invasive In Malawi, Prosopis (thereafter “mesquite”)provided 44% species must address the relative value of useful inva- of households with an income source (Chikuni et al. 2004), sive species, like mesquite. and in India mesquite provided up to 70 % of fuelwood The systematic study of the use and perceptions of in- needs for households in arid regions (Pasiecznik et al. vasive species relative to native species has been limited 2001; Walter 2011). NTFPs from mesquite such as (Kull et al. 2011). People use many invasive species sim- medicine, fodder, flour alternatives and charcoal, are ply because they are there, and not to use them would sold commercially on a large scale worldwide (Shackleton be to forego an opportunity. This is exacerbated if the et al. 2014). However, mesquite also generates numerous species provides a resource that is not available from na- costs in the same areas, which negatively affect local tive species (Shackleton et al. 2007a). However, the use biodiversity, ecosystem services, economies and local liveli- and perceptions of conflict invasive species such as hoods (Shackleton et al. 2014). Australian acacias differ considerably in different areas The services that these invasive alien species provide (Kull et al. 2011). People often use both native and alien and the costs that they generate have resulted in con- species for the same purposes, and it would be useful to flicts regarding their use and management in many understand the drivers and levels of such usage to de- developing countries (Low 2012; van Wilgen and Rich- velop policies that will minimise harm and maximise ardson 2014). The introduction of new plants has been benefit. Both native and alien species must be considered labelled as “dangerous aid” as many of these invasive when formulating broad conservation aims in rangelands non-native species harm the same communities that (Milton et al. 2003). On the one hand the alien species were targeted for assistance in the long term (Low could relieve pressure on native species, thus benefiting Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 3 of 11 conservation. On the other hand, however, on-going in- failed to establish, and the other two have not substan- vasion by the alien species could be very detrimental to tially slowed rates of mesquite spread (Zachariades et al. native species and to ecosystem services. Furthermore, if 2011). Although almost 0.5 billion Rand (US$ 50 mil- the alien species is perceived to be useful, then there lion) was spent on mechanical and chemical control would be resistance to the implementation of control measures between 1996 and 2008 (van Wilgen et al. from those who benefit from the resource. A better un- 2012) by the state-run Working for Water programme, derstanding of the level of use, value and dynamics of invasions continue to spread rapidly and the associated NTPF uses and perceptions of invasive species is clearly negative impacts continue to rise (Wise et al. 2012). important for formulating effective responses and to Additionally, South Africa’s policy for dealing with mes- guide policy formation and management. The use of quite highlights the extent to which complexities still NTFPs is usually assumed to be sustainable, allowing for exist relating to the use and management of mesquite biodiversity conservation and economic development to within South Africa with contradictory policy in differ- co-exist (Negi et al. 2011), and this has been proposed ent provinces. There is clearly an urgent need for a na- for invasive species (Choge and Chikamai 2004). tional mesquite management strategy as there are still Sustainable outcomes are, however, rare. The situation conflicting ideas over the use and the benefit supply of is inevitably dynamic, with the net benefits that accrue the genus and the social and ecological costs it generates shortly after introduction being steadily eroded as the within South Africa. However, before more effective species invades, resulting in net harm (van Wilgen and management policies can be developed, further insights Richardson 2014). One needs to consider that even would be required regarding the relative use, benefits beneficial invasive species can also lead to negative and perceptions of this invasive tree in South Africa as externalities whereas native species do not. Therefore, well as to assess if other options are available if mesquite it is crucial to ensure that the use and perceptions is better managed. on NTFPs from native and invasive species are incor- This study therefore compares (1) the use of NTFPs porated in strategies dealing with invasive species to from native trees and mesquite by different stakeholders ensure that the needs of local communities are met within the invasive range of mesquite in South Africa; while ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and and (2) perceptions surrounding mesquite and native ecosystem services. Mesquite invasions in South tree NTFPs. It is hypothesised that; (1) mesquite is used Africa provideagoodcasestudy forgaining further more than native species due to introduction history and insights on these issues. the fact that is it highly invasive and so widespread; (2) the introduction of mesquite has led to the prevision Mesquite in South Africa and use of novel resources in the area; and (3) mesquite Several Prosopis species were introduced to a few local- will be perceived to be more useful than native species ities in South Africa in the late 1800s. In the mid-1900s by local communities. mesquite was widely promoted and planted by the De- partment of Agriculture as a fodder, fuelwood and shade Methods resource to aid farmers who were struggling with a two- Study site decade long drought in the arid parts of the country The study took place in 10 cities, towns and villages (Zimmermann 1991; Poynton 2009). Prosopis has since across South Africa’s Northern Cape province (Fig. 1). become the second most widespread invasive plant This area covers the core of the invasive range of mes- genus in South Africa after Australian acacias (van Wil- quite species in South Africa and represents a cross gen et al. 2012). There is growing evidence that mesquite section of different environmental and socio-political invasions in South Africa are having profound negative conditions. Invasive stands of mesquite in South Africa impacts on biodiversity (Dean et al. 2002; Steenkamp comprise a complex mixture of several species and their and Chown 1996; Schachtschneider and February 2013; hybrids (Mazibuko 2012), and we will simply refer to as Shackleton et al. 2015a, 2015b), ecosystem services “mesquite”. The study included rural and urban areas (Ndhlovu et al. 2011; Dzikiti et al. 2013) and local liveli- and areas with private and communal land tenure. hoods and economies (Wise et al. 2012; Shackleton et al. Sampled human settlements included large towns with 2015c). Wise et al. (2012) estimated that the costs will over 50,000 people (Kimberly and Upington), smaller soon exceed the benefits. Control efforts carried out to towns with between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants date have done little to arrest the rapid spread of inva- (Calvinia, Carnavon and Prieska), and towns and villages sive populations (van Wilgen et al. 2012). Three seed- with fewer than 5000 people (Brandvlei, Loeriesfontein, feeding biological control agents (Algarobius prosopis, A. Kenhardt, Mier and Madibeng). bottimeri and Neltumius arizonensis) have been released The legacy of apartheid is still clearly reflected in the in South Africa, but have had limited effect. A. bottimeri wealth, education, and distribution of different racial Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 4 of 11 Fig. 1 Locations of the 10 towns in South Africa where interviews were conducted on the use of non-timber forest products from Prosopis species (mesquite) and native trees use. Dots represent the occurrence of invasive mesquite stands (Source of Map - Henderson, SAPIA database, ARC-Plant Protection Institute, Pretoria) groups in the study area (Table 1) (Treiman 2007). Rural within three biomes: the Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo land is primarily owned by Whites and is run as game or and Savanna (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). livestock farms, although there are areas of communal land populated by Black and Coloured (mix-race) com- Interviews munities that were demarcated as “homelands” during Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people the apartheid era. Stark contrasts are evident in urban from four main stakeholder groups - two in rural areas areas, with moderately affluent suburbs (populated mainly (land-owning farmers, and people living on communal by Whites) and informal settlements (“townships”)popu- lands) and two in urban areas (affluent suburbs and lated by primarily Black and Coloured residents (Table 1). those living in poor informal settlements). These stake- The economy of the region is based on mining, livestock, holders provided a cross section of various groups who game and irrigated crop farming and tourism. The study utilise natural resources and are influenced by mesquite. area is semi-arid to arid, with mean annual rainfall aver- The interviews sought to uncover what NTFP products aging between 150 and 450 mm at different sites and falls households used, the quantity of used, but also to Table 1 Demographics (mean ± standard deviation) of the sample populations of the different stakeholder groups interviewed across the study sites. (hh = household) Stakeholder Mean age Gender Race group Education Mean no. Mean no. Mean no. Mean no. Modal income category (yrs) (% male) (%) of hh head people wage earners state grants state pensions bracket (Thousands (yrs) in hh per hh per hh per hh of Rand/month) Farmers 53 ± 134 81 Coloured (12) 13 ± 3 3 ± 1 2 ± 0 0 ± 0 0 ± 0 30-40 White (88) Communal 47 ± 16 47 Black (25) 7 ± 4 5 ± 3 1 ± 1 2 ± 1 1 ± 1 0-5 rural Coloured (75) Urban-Affluent 48 ± 13 57 Black (8) 14 ± 2 3 ± 1 2 ± 1 0 ± 0 0 ± 0 >40 Coloured (4) White (88) Urban-Informal 48 ± 33 38 Black (28) 8 ± 4 5 ± 3 1 ± 1 1 ± 1 1 ± 1 0-5 Coloured (72) Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 5 of 11 understand perceptions and trends about the use of utility vehicle) loads per month or year. The contents of NTFPs from mesquite and native trees. Households twelve bakkie loads and six donkey carts were weighed. were selected at random by conducting interviews with This included eight bakkie loads of mesquite, two of Acacia all available households on randomly selected streets - erioloba and two of A. karroo wood and tree donkey carts although some farmers were located through snowball of mesquite, two of A. erioloba and one of A. karroo wood. sampling as many lived in towns rather than on their There were no significant differences in the mean weights farms. The head of the household and/or those respon- of the different species. We standardised the data for wet sible for the collection of NTFPs were interviewed in bakkie loads (which still had fresh bark and were on aver- their home language (Afrikaans, English, SeTswana, or age a third heavier) to that of dry bakkie loads by subtract- isiXhosa). A translator was used for interviews in house- ing the mean difference between the two. The mean weight holds where interviewees were not conversant in of a bakkie load of wood was 422 ± 119 kg. This is lower English. than the mean of 532 kg for three bakkie loads measured A total of 639 household interviews were conducted by Twine et al. (2003) - there was high variability based on across 10 sites between June and September 2014. These the type of bakkie. The mean mass of a donkey cart load of included 130 interviews with commercial farmers, 100 in wood was 156 ± 66 kg, marginally higher than the average rural communal land villages and 409 in urban areas – of 132 kg per donkey cart found by Shackleton et al. (2006). (276 in informal settlements, 133 in affluent town sub- Market values for fuel wood, honey and pods used to pro- urbs). Farmers were interviewed at all 10 sites. Respon- duce organic medicine were gathered from local traders at dents from urban informal settlements and urban each of the study sites. Because there was no market for affluent areas were not interviewed at Mier and Madi- fodder and fencing poles, a substitute for mesquite pods for beng as these areas only had rural villages on communal fodder -Lucerne pellets - was used (R 3.10 per kg) and the lands. Sample sizes varied across the stakeholder groups valueofnativetreefencing poleswas substitutedfor 3m- and were based on the demographics of different groups long Eucalyptus poles (R 40.00 per pole). and the availability and ease of access for household in- terviews (Shackleton et al. 2015a). Farms in the area are Statistics widely separated making it costly and time-consuming T-tests were used to compare the total use and value to do many interviews. Unemployment is high in urban (numerical data) of native tree species relative to mes- informal areas, so it was possible to conduct interviews quite. One-Way ANOVAs and Tukey post-hoc tests throughout the day. In most households in urban afflu- were used to compare use and value (numerical data) ent areas all the adults in the household worked so inter- between different stakeholder groups. Chi-squared tests views could only be conducted for an hour a day in the were used to compare the differences between usage by early evenings and on weekends. stakeholder groups and perceptions of mesquite and The interviews were semi-structured and comprised native species for variables with categorical data. All as- three main sections: (1) information regarding the demo- sumptions for each test were examined before the tests graphics of the respondent household; (2) questions relat- were run. Some groups of products have very small sam- ing to use of mesquite and native trees; and (3) questions ple sizes precluding statistical analysis. relating to perceptions of NTFPs supplied by mesquite and native species, and changes in patterns of use over Results time. This allowed us to gather information on the prod- Uses of mesquite and native trees ucts and species utilised, amounts used, and local prices Fuelwood was the most common NTFP collected or which allowed for the calculation of direct use values. bought for both mesquite and native species (Table 2). The proportion of fuelwood from native species and Field measurements mesquite varied between stakeholder groups, and fuel- The key resources obtained from trees included fuel- wood from native species was used more amongst three wood, pods used for various products, and fencing poles. stakeholder groups but marginally less by those in Urban For households that had NTFPs at their houses, daily Informal settlements who use mesquite slightly more quantities were measured using a spring scale. Many often. Annual household use and the economic value of households bought resources from local traders, and indica- the use did not differ between mesquite and native trees tions of amounts bought per time frame were gathered. at a household level. However, total use and value of na- Local prices were obtained from traders. Quantities that tive species was higher as more households use native people bought were measured at the local traders. Many species for fuel wood as compared to mesquite. The households did not have NTFPs available for measurement, mean price of fuelwood from native species (R 1.8/kg) but respondents were able to estimate their usage in was also slightly higher than that of mesquite fuelwood common units such as donkey carts or bakkie (small truck/ (R 1.4/kg). The overall household direct use value of Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 6 of 11 Table 2 A comparison of fuel wood use of mesquite and native tree species for different stakeholders. Data are mean ± standard deviation Mesquite fuelwood Native species fuelwood p-value (mesquite vs. native) Stake-holder %ofhh Mean use (kg/ Mean value (R/ %of hh Mean use (kg/ Mean value (R/ %of hh Mean use Mean value group using hh/yr) hh/yr) using hh/yr) hh/yr) using (kg/hh/yr) (R/hh/yr) a a a a Farmers 54 1648 ± 1650 2060 ± 2676 85 1784 ± 1892 2230 ± 2523 0.03 0.630 0.85 b b b b Communal 48 795 ± 1021 930 ± 1229 69 860 ± 1110 1125 ± 1253 0.04 0.17 0.48 rural b c c Urban - affluent 19 392 ± 259 586 ± 343 63 339 ± 271 641 ± 553 0.005 0.39 0.63 b c b Urban - 51 539 ± 721 979 ± 1134 48 528 ± 626 1155 ± 1214 0.869 0 .09 0.42 informal Superscript letters = significant differences between different stakeholder groups - Tukey post hoc test. hh = household native tree fuelwood across all stakeholders was 1.2 not be included in the study for ethical reasons. In rural times higher than that of mesquite. Acacia erioloba, A. areas numerous native tree species were used to make karroo and A. mellifera made up the bulk of native spe- fencing poles. The value of NTFPs other than fuelwood cies used followed by Parkinsonia africana and Searsia was approximately 9.4 times higher for mesquite than lancea. The use of mesquite wood also differed between for native trees. However, fuelwood use overshadowed stakeholder groups (Table 2). Farmers used more mes- this and, all together, the value of direct use NTFP prod- quite fuelwood than other groups. There was no differ- ucts of native trees averaged 1.1 times more than that of ence in use and value of mesquite between other groups. mesquite (Tables 2 and 3). Interestingly, no households Annual use of wood and annual value of fuel wood from in Urban Affluent areas used other (besides for fuel- native species also differed between different stake- wood) NTFPs from mesquite or native tree species holders (Table 2). Farmers used the most, followed by (Table 3). residents in Communal Rural villages and there were no Modes of obtaining NTFP products differed between differences between the urban stakeholder groups who stakeholder groups for both mesquite and native tree used substantially less than the rural stakeholders. species (Fig. 2). Most farmers and people living in rural Mesquite provided more direct-use services than na- communal areas collected products from mesquite and tive trees (Table 3). This included the collection of pods native species themselves, whereas in urban areas most for fodder, beer and the manufacture of an organic blood people purchased these products. The proportion of sugar stabiliser marketed as “Manna”. Pods were col- people selling NTFPs was very similar across all stake- lected by farmers and milled to break the seed, so that holder groups with 2 %–3 % of people selling mesquite they could feed them to livestock while eliminating the and native tree products in Rural Communal areas and risk of spreading the seeds in dung. The collection of Urban-Affluent areas and up to 7 % of respondents sell- pods to produce Manna was restricted to one town ing mesquite products from the Urban-Informal stake- (Prieska). Some farmers also collected honey produced holder group and 7 % of farmers selling native tree from mesquite flowers. Respondents also mentioned that species products. Farmers and people from Urban Afflu- children opportunistically ate the pods from mesquite, ent areas normally had larger-scale operations compared but this was not included in the study as children could to the more informal trade within the Rural Communal Table 3 Usage metrics (mean ± standard deviation) for less commonly used non-timber forest products harvested from mesquite and native trees in South Africa. (hh = household) Farmers Communal rural Urban – informal Resource % of hh Mean use (kg or l/ Mean value (R/ %of hh Mean use (kg or number Mean value %ofhh Mean use (kg/ Mean value using hh/yr) hh/yr) using of poles/hh/yr) (R/hh/yr) using hh/yr) (R/hh/yr) Mesquite Fodder 3.8 1976 ± 1669 6125 ± 5174 2 200 ± 0 620 ± 0 >1 960 ± 0 2976 Beer –– – –– – >1 80 ± 28 120 ± 82 Manna –– – –– – 2.2 1013 ± 193 1215 ± 231 Honey >1 10 700 –– – –– – Native trees Fencing –– – 4 29 ± 23 1170 ± 912 –– – poles Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 7 of 11 2 2 Fig. 2 Methods of securing non-timber forest products from (a) mesquite – (χ = 255.8;p < 0.0005) and (b) native species (χ = 235.2;p < 0.0005) for four stakeholder groups in South Africa areas and Urban Informal areas and employed labourers (making wood collection cheaper and faster); and some to do the work, thus creating valuable jobs. households make beer out of the pods (Table 4). An- other reason for preferring to use mesquite was because Perceptions and trends over time the wood could easily be collected from debris left by In general, most households viewed the products pro- government-sponsored clearing projects. Many people in vided by mesquite as inferior to native species – particu- the Urban Affluent stakeholder group were unsure whether larly in the case of fuelwood (Fig. 3). There were several mesquite products were better than native tree products reasons for this, including that mesquite wood does not and had no particular preference (Fig. 3). generate as much heat or form coals as well as many na- In general, most stakeholders were either using the tive species; mesquite logs have smaller diameters than same amount of mesquite or native tree species, or have those from native species; mesquite has thick thorns that decreased their use of fuel wood over the last 10 years some people consider poisonous, making it relatively dif- (Fig. 4). The primary reasons for reduced use – particularly ficult to harvest and utilise; when the mesquite wood is in Urban-Informal settlements and in Rural Communal vil- slightly wet it produces an unpleasant smoke, and the lages – is the recent electrification of these areas, and in- most commonly mentioned reason was that the wood is creased incomes through grants enabling many people to rapidly powdered by a boring insect as it dries (which move to alternative energy sources such as electricity and means that large quantities of wood cannot be stored gas. Only a small proportion of people in all stakeholder for long periods) (Table 4). A small percentage of re- groups have increased their use of mesquite or native trees spondents preferred mesquite to native species, because for NTFPs. Reasons for increased use include: bigger fam- it produces a highly nutritious fodder; invasive mesquite ilies driving a greater demand for wood, and the lower cost stands are often closer and more accessible to towns of fuel wood compared to electricity. Some people have in- creased their use of mesquite compared to native trees as the mesquite has spread rapidly making the wood are more accessible. Some farmers have also increased their use of mesquite as they are making more effort to control it and so use the wood of trees that have been cut down. Most people in Urban-Affluent areas used the wood primarily for barbeques, a strong tradition in the area, and are using about the same amount of wood as in the past. Discussion Many previous studies of NTFP use from invasive alien plants have focused only on the use value of a single species and provided no comparisons with usage of native species (Chikuni et al. 2004; de Neergaard et al. 2005; Shackleton Fig. 3 Perceptions on the usefulness of non-timber forest products et al. 2007c; Shackleton et al. 2011). Such a comparison is supplied by mesquite compared to native tree species in South Af- important to illustrate the potential value invasive species rica (χ = 189.3;p < 0.0005) can provide but also gives insight into the other alternatives Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 8 of 11 2 2 Table 4 Views of different stakeholders (% of respondents) on the negative (χ = 4.05;p = 0.29) and positive (χ = 11.5;p = 0.0006) aspects of mesquite non-timber forest product provision as compared to those supplied by native trees Negative Positive Stakeholder group Bad smoke Poor quality wood Thorns Turns to dust Fodder Make beer More accessible Farmer 1.8 31.1 19.8 37.0 11.3 – 1.8 Rural Communal 4.6 25.8 24.2 38.5 7.0 – 3.0 Urban - Affluent – 53 6.3 40.1 –– 1.6 Urban - Informal 7.3 25.7 28.6 28.8 10.7 1.1 3.7 and the potential opportunity costs of their use. This study (2) We hypothesised that the introduction of mesquite has shown that the direct use and value of resources pro- would lead to the provision and use of novel resources vided by an introduced “wonder plant” which has now be- in the area, which it has, as mesquite provides a come a major invader - mesquite - is not as high as high as greater diversity of products than native trees in the that of native trees in the arid parts of South Africa. This study area. The most important novel resource is pods suggests that the benefits provided by mesquite are not as which are valued for fodder and to a smaller extent for high as previously assumed, and with rising costs associated theproductionofanorganic medicine andbrewing with spreading invasions, management interventions to re- alcohol (in one town) (Table 3). This study did not duce the extent and density of mesquite are becoming in- quantify the value of consumption of pods by livestock creasingly justifiable. in rangelands, although this is high (Wise et al. 2012). However, any assessment of the value of pods as Findings in relation to hypotheses fodder would have to factor in the loss of grazing where mesquite invades (Ndhlovu et al. 2011), as well (1) We hypothesised that mesquite would be used as the role of livestock in spreading mesquite seeds in more than native species. Our findings indicate, their dung (Shiferaw et al. 2004). however, that native species – particularly Acacia (3) We hypothesised that the natural resources species - provide higher value for direct household provided by mesquite would be preferred to those use to local stakeholders than mesquite provides of native trees. However, our findings indicate that (Tables 2 and 3). The bulk of this use is for fuel- the majority of stakeholders prefer native trees wood which is the most commonly utilised NTFP over mesquite and see products of native species as in other parts of South Africa as well superior (Fig. 3). This is mainly because the wood (Twine 2005; Davenport et al. 2012). This suggests quality of mesquite is perceived as poor for the that mesquite is less useful than previously assumed. reasons highlighted in Table 4, and fuel wood is the It also means that the pressure on native tree most widely used NTFP in the area. In Ethiopia populations remains high as they are still being when production of charcoal was legalised in an utilised and are being displaced by invasive attempt to control mesquite through utilization, mesquite (Schachtschneider and February 2013; locals substituted mesquite with native Acacia Shackleton et al. 2015b, 2015c). tortilis and A. nilotica because these native species 2 2 Fig. 4 A comparison of the use of (a) mesquite (χ = 130.0;p < 0.0005) and (b)native species (χ = 111.5;p < 0.0005) since the year 2000 in South Africa Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 9 of 11 produced larger boles, had smaller spines and Benefits vs. costs were easier to harvest, and because there were Wise et al. (2012) estimated that mesquite invasions perceptions that the smoke from mesquite was were providing a net benefit to local communities in poisonous (A. Witt: unpublished data). This South Africa, but that a net loss will result shortly as provides another example illustrating that native mesquite trees continue to spread. Although mesquite is species are favoured over mesquite, and highlights providing about half of the farmers in the Northern that planting alien species is unlikely to replace the Cape with a mean direct-use value R 2 000 per annum, use of native species, or to protect them. The the mean expenditure of farmers to control mesquite is supply of pods (a novel resource) from mesquite over R 20 000 per farm per annum (Shackleton et al. was the main reason why a small percentage of 2015a). Mesquite invasions have also led to numerous respondents preferred mesquite over native trees. other social, ecological and economic costs such as Mesquite fuelwood was also favoured not because negative impacts on water, grazing potential, biodiversity of its quality but because it could more easily be and infrastructure that have not been fully valued accessed. This has been noted elsewhere; for (Ndhlovu et al. 2011; Dzikiti et al. 2013; Shackleton et al. example, wood from A. mearnsii was perceived to 2015a, 2015c). This suggests that mesquite invasions in be of lower quality than native species in the South Africa generate more costs than benefits. Some Eastern Cape of South Africa, but because it was argue that mesquite invasions play a positive role in that more abundant close to villages it was used more they reduce the use and pressure on native trees (Food (Shackleton et al. 2007a). Different perceptions and Agriculture Organisation FAO 2004). However, relating to the use of natural resources of invasive mesquite invasions are having large-scale negative im- species therefore often relate to their abundance, pacts on native tree population stability, abundance, proximity, novelty, social contexts, factors density and mortality in South Africa (Schachtschneider surrounding introductions, cultural preferences and February 2013; Shackleton et al. 2015b, 2015c) and and the opportunity costs of not using them natives are still being harvested in preference to mes- (Shackleton et al. 2007a;Kulletal. 2011). quite. Native trees will therefore decline as mesquite stands become more widespread and dense, possibly Use patterns and perceptions more so than as a result of direct harvesting. In Kenya, Most previous studies have assessed patterns of use mesquite is negatively impacting populations of native within defined socio-economic groups (Twine et al. species that supply specialised NTFPs, e.g., a palm 2003; Shackleton et al. 2007c; Paumgarten and Shackle- (Hyphaene compressa) used for weaving and thatching ton 2009; Davenport et al. 2012; Thondhlana et al. (Stave et al. 2007). 2012), and not between groups. Our study revealed that use patterns, methods of obtaining the resources, and Conclusion use over time varied between stakeholders within differ- This study, focussing on invasive mesquite species, illus- ent social-economic and land tenure contexts (Tables 2 trates the benefit of understanding the conflicts of inter- and 3; Figs. 2, 3 and 4). We found that those living est caused by invasive species within the developing closer to invasions (farmers and people in rural commu- world, and how understanding natural resource use is nal land villages) mainly collected the NTFPs them- important for informing policy and management. We selves, whereas people in urban areas relied more on suggest that similar studies in other parts of the world purchasing these resources. People living in more rural would help to highlight the relative values of the re- areas also used a higher value of NTFPs compared to sources provided by invasive species and to determine those in urban areas. Interestingly, the traditionally whether invasive alien species provide any unique re- poorer stakeholders are moving away from use of fuel- sources that may be affected by management. Our study wood (Fig. 4) as they adopt alternative energy sources has shown that people preferentially use native species such as electricity, gas and paraffin. The decreasing reli- over mesquite and are decreasing their reliance’s on nat- ance on natural products has also been highlighted in ural resources from trees in general. It also highlights other parts of South Africa, and has been linked to in- that alternative native species are available, if mesquite creased electrification and increased incomes especially was substantially reduced through more effective man- through state grants and pensions (Shackleton et al. agement. Current policy in South Africa is attempting to 2013). However, other sources suggest that the use of simultaneously maximise benefits and minimise harm, NTFPs, especially on a commercial scale, is increasing in but this approach is likely to lead to growing negative some areas (Twine 2005). Those in wealthier stakeholder impacts and continued spread. It would be better to base groups still use similar amounts of NTFPs as there is a policy direction on overall net benefit or loss. Wise et al. strong culture of using wood for barbequing. (2012) predicted that a situation of net losses would Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 10 of 11 arise soon, and that the magnitude of the net loss would Kannan R, Shackleton CM, Shaanker RU (2014) Invasive alien species as drivers of socio-ecological systems: local adaptions towards use of Lantana in Southern grow rapidly as mesquite continues to spread. It would India. Environ Dev Sustain 16:649–669 therefore appear to be better to adapt policy and treat Kull CA, Shackleton CM, Cunningham PJ, Ducatillon C, Dufour-Dror J, Esler KJ, mesquite as an undesirable invasive species everywhere Friday JB, Gouveia AC, Griffin AR, Marchante E, Midgley SJ, Pauchard A, Rangan H, Richardson DM, Rinaudo T, Tassin J, Urgenson LS, von Maltitz GP, (category 1), and consider using more damaging bio- Zenni RD, Zylstra MJ (2011) Adoption, use and perception of Australian logical control agents (not only seed-attacking insects). acacias around the world. Divers Distrib 17:822–836 Low T (2012) In denial about dangerous aid. Biol Invasions 14:2235–2236 Competing interests Mazibuko DM (2012) Phylogenetic relationship of Prosopis in South Africa: An The authors declare that they have no competing interests. assessment of the extent of hybridization, and the role of genome size and seed size in the invasion dynamics. MSc Dissertation, Stellenbosch University Authors’ contributions Milton JJ, Dean WRJ, Richardson DM (2003) Economic incentives for restoring All authors conceived the study. RTS collected the data, performed statistical natural capital in southern African rangelands. Front Ecol Environ 1:247–254 analysis. All authors helped to draft manuscript. All authors read and Mucina L, Rutherford MC (2006) The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and approved the final manuscript. Swaziland. Strelitzia, 19. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Ndhlovu T, Milton-Dean SJ, Esler KJ (2011) Impact of Prosopis (mesquite) invasion Acknowledgements and clearing on the grazing capacity of semiarid Nama Karoo rangeland, We thank all the participants who were interviewed and the translators for South Africa. Afr J Range Forage Sci 28:129–137 their hard work. This research was supported by the DST-NRF Centre of Ex- Negi VS, Maikhuri RK, Rawat LS (2011) Non-timber forest products (NTFPs): cellence for Invasion Biology and Working for Water Programme through a viable option for biodiversity conservation and livelihood enhancement in their collaborative research project on “Integrated management of invasive central Himalaya. Biodiver Conserv 20:545–559 alien species in South Africa” and the National Research Foundation (grant 85417 Pasiecznik NM, Felker P, Harris PJC, Harsh LN, Cruz G, Tewari JC, Cadoret K, to DMR). Maldonado LJ (2001) The Prosopis juliflora-Prosopis pallida complex: A monograph. HDRA, Coventry, UK Author details 1 Pasiecznik NM, Choge SK, Muthike GM, Chesang S, Fehr C, Blackwell-Stone P, et Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, 2 al (2006) Putting knowledge on Prosopis into good use in Kenya. Pioneering Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa. Centre for Invasion advances in 2006. 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Use of non-timber forest products from invasive alien Prosopis species (mesquite) and native trees in South Africa: implications for management

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Springer Journals
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2015 Shackleton et al.; licensee Springer.
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2197-5620
DOI
10.1186/s40663-015-0040-9
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Abstract

Background: Prosopis species have been introduced to many areas outside their native range to provide benefits to local communities. Several Prosopis species and their hybrids (hereafter “mesquite”) have, however, become naturalised and invasive and now generate substantial costs. Management options are limited because of the complex conflicts of interest regarding benefits and costs. Management policies and strategies must take account of such conflicts, but further insights are needed on the dimensions of uses and impacts before such information can be usefully applied. Current policy in South Africa allows for the growth and use of mesquite in one province, but not in others where its control is mandatory. We report on a study to quantify the direct use and perceptions of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) from mesquite and native trees in South Africa. Methods: Semi-structures household interviews were conducted with various stakeholder groups to identify what tree products are used, to ascertain amounts used as well as to gauge perceptions of natural resource use between different tree species and use over time. Results: The direct household use value of native trees was higher than that of mesquite, and local stakeholders attached greater value to products from native trees than from mesquite. Therefore, native trees are and will still be preferentially harvested, and mesquite is unlikely to offer protection to native species by providing an alternative source of products. Mesquite pods do, however, provide valuable additional resources (fodder and medicinal products). The use of both native trees and mesquite is decreasing as the incomes of poorer households rise and as alternative energy sources become available. The benefits and reliance on mesquite are not as high as previously assumed and the impacts from mesquite invasions create large problems for local communities. Conclusion: This study provides further evidence that the impacts of mesquite exceed the benefits, lending support for a policy to reduce negative impacts. Keywords: Biological invasions; Conflicts of interests; Cost vs. benefit; Management; Policy; Tree invasions Background associated with these invasions often increase as the General introduction plants spread (Shackleton et al. 2007a; Kull et al. 2011). Thousands of plant species have been introduced to new This typically results in the emergence of complex con- locations by humans, especially during the last three flicts of interest, with some stakeholders calling for centuries, to serve many purposes (Richardson 2011). eradication or control of the invaders, while others pro- Many have naturalised and some have become invasive mote their continued use (Shaanker et al. 2010; Kannan (Rejmánek and Richardson 2013). Invasive plants often et al. 2014; Shackleton et al. 2014; van Wilgen and Rich- supply benefits to societies in their new ranges, but costs ardson 2014). Some invasive plant taxa (e.g., Acacia and Pinus species) are commercially important for forestry and agroforestry (Richardson 2011), while many others * Correspondence: rtshackleton@gmail.com 1 (e.g., Acacia mearnsii, Opuntia ficus-indica and Prosopis Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, species) provide useful resources such as fuelwood, Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © 2015 Shackleton et al.; licensee Springer. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 2 of 11 fodder and fruit, and are important for local livelihoods 2012). The presumed benefits of these species limit (Pasiecznik et al. 2001; de Neergaard et al. 2005; Shackleton management options and lead to contradictory policies et al. 2007a, 2011; Richardson et al. 2015). However, these in many developing countries, while costs associated same species also cause substantial costs to local livelihoods with the invasions continue to rise. For example, in the and the environment (Shackleton et al. 2014; van Wilgen Northern Cape province, South Africa, mesquite is listed and Richardson 2014). as a “Category 3” invasive “species” which means that Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are all biological the genus may remain in the prescribed area/province, materials other than timber that are harvested from but further planting, propagation or trade is prohibited – trees for use and sale at the household level (De Ber and expect for the pods from mesquite which are exempted, McDermott 1989). These include native and introduced and may be used on private land. In other South African species (Cunningham 2001). NTFPs are utilised for provinces, mesquite is a “Category 1” invader which means subsistence and commercial gain all over the world that invasive populations must be controlled (although the (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004) and account for 20 % regulations do allow for ongoing use of pods) (NEM:BA, of the incomes of rural poor communities on average 2004; Act No. 10 of 2004: Alien and Invasive Lists 2014) and are used by more than 85 % of households in urban (Department of Environmental Affairs 2014). This means areas of southern Africa (Shackleton et al. 2007b; that any trading of products derived from mesquite is illegal Davenport et al. 2012). The use and trade of NTFPs has in South Africa. Similarly, policy in Kenya states that potential to be used for poverty alleviation and social mesquite should be managed though utilisation to reduce upliftment in developing countries in a sustainable way rates of spread and impacts while at the same time benefit- (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004); this includes various ting local communities. This policy is controversial as it initiatives to promote the utilisation of invasive alien limits control options; for example biological control is species of Acacia and Prosopis (Choge and Chikamai excluded (Shackleton et al. 2014). Such policies that seek to 2004; Pasiecznik et al. 2006; Shackleton et al. 2007a). reduce impacts while seeking to benefit communities are The introduction of invasive species can bring benefits widespread in developing countries. The situation is very by supplying more NTFPs or novel NTFPs, but can sim- different in developed countries, where social upliftment ultaneously be detrimental to natural resources, chan- does not feature in strategies for dealing with invasive spe- ging traditional patterns of resource use in a positive or cies. In Australia, for example, mesquite is listed as a weed negative way (Shackleton et al. 2007a). For example, in of national significance and legislation does not allow for South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, 90 % of house- utilisation (Australian Weeds Committee 2012). Similarly, holds used invasive alien Acacia species (wattles) as their European regulations issued in 2015 do not make it easy to primary heat source, and 19 % of households relied on utilise products from any invasive species (European Union wattles for cash incomes (de Neergaard et al. 2005). The 2014). Utilisation of natural resources is crucial for local sale of fruit from invasive stands of Opuntia ficus-indica livelihoods and social upliftment in developing countries in the Eastern Cape amounted to 9 % of the yearly in- (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004). Sustainable strat- come of collector’s households (Shackleton et al. 2011). egies for dealing with “conflict of interest” invasive In Malawi, Prosopis (thereafter “mesquite”)provided 44% species must address the relative value of useful inva- of households with an income source (Chikuni et al. 2004), sive species, like mesquite. and in India mesquite provided up to 70 % of fuelwood The systematic study of the use and perceptions of in- needs for households in arid regions (Pasiecznik et al. vasive species relative to native species has been limited 2001; Walter 2011). NTFPs from mesquite such as (Kull et al. 2011). People use many invasive species sim- medicine, fodder, flour alternatives and charcoal, are ply because they are there, and not to use them would sold commercially on a large scale worldwide (Shackleton be to forego an opportunity. This is exacerbated if the et al. 2014). However, mesquite also generates numerous species provides a resource that is not available from na- costs in the same areas, which negatively affect local tive species (Shackleton et al. 2007a). However, the use biodiversity, ecosystem services, economies and local liveli- and perceptions of conflict invasive species such as hoods (Shackleton et al. 2014). Australian acacias differ considerably in different areas The services that these invasive alien species provide (Kull et al. 2011). People often use both native and alien and the costs that they generate have resulted in con- species for the same purposes, and it would be useful to flicts regarding their use and management in many understand the drivers and levels of such usage to de- developing countries (Low 2012; van Wilgen and Rich- velop policies that will minimise harm and maximise ardson 2014). The introduction of new plants has been benefit. Both native and alien species must be considered labelled as “dangerous aid” as many of these invasive when formulating broad conservation aims in rangelands non-native species harm the same communities that (Milton et al. 2003). On the one hand the alien species were targeted for assistance in the long term (Low could relieve pressure on native species, thus benefiting Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 3 of 11 conservation. On the other hand, however, on-going in- failed to establish, and the other two have not substan- vasion by the alien species could be very detrimental to tially slowed rates of mesquite spread (Zachariades et al. native species and to ecosystem services. Furthermore, if 2011). Although almost 0.5 billion Rand (US$ 50 mil- the alien species is perceived to be useful, then there lion) was spent on mechanical and chemical control would be resistance to the implementation of control measures between 1996 and 2008 (van Wilgen et al. from those who benefit from the resource. A better un- 2012) by the state-run Working for Water programme, derstanding of the level of use, value and dynamics of invasions continue to spread rapidly and the associated NTPF uses and perceptions of invasive species is clearly negative impacts continue to rise (Wise et al. 2012). important for formulating effective responses and to Additionally, South Africa’s policy for dealing with mes- guide policy formation and management. The use of quite highlights the extent to which complexities still NTFPs is usually assumed to be sustainable, allowing for exist relating to the use and management of mesquite biodiversity conservation and economic development to within South Africa with contradictory policy in differ- co-exist (Negi et al. 2011), and this has been proposed ent provinces. There is clearly an urgent need for a na- for invasive species (Choge and Chikamai 2004). tional mesquite management strategy as there are still Sustainable outcomes are, however, rare. The situation conflicting ideas over the use and the benefit supply of is inevitably dynamic, with the net benefits that accrue the genus and the social and ecological costs it generates shortly after introduction being steadily eroded as the within South Africa. However, before more effective species invades, resulting in net harm (van Wilgen and management policies can be developed, further insights Richardson 2014). One needs to consider that even would be required regarding the relative use, benefits beneficial invasive species can also lead to negative and perceptions of this invasive tree in South Africa as externalities whereas native species do not. Therefore, well as to assess if other options are available if mesquite it is crucial to ensure that the use and perceptions is better managed. on NTFPs from native and invasive species are incor- This study therefore compares (1) the use of NTFPs porated in strategies dealing with invasive species to from native trees and mesquite by different stakeholders ensure that the needs of local communities are met within the invasive range of mesquite in South Africa; while ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and and (2) perceptions surrounding mesquite and native ecosystem services. Mesquite invasions in South tree NTFPs. It is hypothesised that; (1) mesquite is used Africa provideagoodcasestudy forgaining further more than native species due to introduction history and insights on these issues. the fact that is it highly invasive and so widespread; (2) the introduction of mesquite has led to the prevision Mesquite in South Africa and use of novel resources in the area; and (3) mesquite Several Prosopis species were introduced to a few local- will be perceived to be more useful than native species ities in South Africa in the late 1800s. In the mid-1900s by local communities. mesquite was widely promoted and planted by the De- partment of Agriculture as a fodder, fuelwood and shade Methods resource to aid farmers who were struggling with a two- Study site decade long drought in the arid parts of the country The study took place in 10 cities, towns and villages (Zimmermann 1991; Poynton 2009). Prosopis has since across South Africa’s Northern Cape province (Fig. 1). become the second most widespread invasive plant This area covers the core of the invasive range of mes- genus in South Africa after Australian acacias (van Wil- quite species in South Africa and represents a cross gen et al. 2012). There is growing evidence that mesquite section of different environmental and socio-political invasions in South Africa are having profound negative conditions. Invasive stands of mesquite in South Africa impacts on biodiversity (Dean et al. 2002; Steenkamp comprise a complex mixture of several species and their and Chown 1996; Schachtschneider and February 2013; hybrids (Mazibuko 2012), and we will simply refer to as Shackleton et al. 2015a, 2015b), ecosystem services “mesquite”. The study included rural and urban areas (Ndhlovu et al. 2011; Dzikiti et al. 2013) and local liveli- and areas with private and communal land tenure. hoods and economies (Wise et al. 2012; Shackleton et al. Sampled human settlements included large towns with 2015c). Wise et al. (2012) estimated that the costs will over 50,000 people (Kimberly and Upington), smaller soon exceed the benefits. Control efforts carried out to towns with between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants date have done little to arrest the rapid spread of inva- (Calvinia, Carnavon and Prieska), and towns and villages sive populations (van Wilgen et al. 2012). Three seed- with fewer than 5000 people (Brandvlei, Loeriesfontein, feeding biological control agents (Algarobius prosopis, A. Kenhardt, Mier and Madibeng). bottimeri and Neltumius arizonensis) have been released The legacy of apartheid is still clearly reflected in the in South Africa, but have had limited effect. A. bottimeri wealth, education, and distribution of different racial Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 4 of 11 Fig. 1 Locations of the 10 towns in South Africa where interviews were conducted on the use of non-timber forest products from Prosopis species (mesquite) and native trees use. Dots represent the occurrence of invasive mesquite stands (Source of Map - Henderson, SAPIA database, ARC-Plant Protection Institute, Pretoria) groups in the study area (Table 1) (Treiman 2007). Rural within three biomes: the Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo land is primarily owned by Whites and is run as game or and Savanna (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). livestock farms, although there are areas of communal land populated by Black and Coloured (mix-race) com- Interviews munities that were demarcated as “homelands” during Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people the apartheid era. Stark contrasts are evident in urban from four main stakeholder groups - two in rural areas areas, with moderately affluent suburbs (populated mainly (land-owning farmers, and people living on communal by Whites) and informal settlements (“townships”)popu- lands) and two in urban areas (affluent suburbs and lated by primarily Black and Coloured residents (Table 1). those living in poor informal settlements). These stake- The economy of the region is based on mining, livestock, holders provided a cross section of various groups who game and irrigated crop farming and tourism. The study utilise natural resources and are influenced by mesquite. area is semi-arid to arid, with mean annual rainfall aver- The interviews sought to uncover what NTFP products aging between 150 and 450 mm at different sites and falls households used, the quantity of used, but also to Table 1 Demographics (mean ± standard deviation) of the sample populations of the different stakeholder groups interviewed across the study sites. (hh = household) Stakeholder Mean age Gender Race group Education Mean no. Mean no. Mean no. Mean no. Modal income category (yrs) (% male) (%) of hh head people wage earners state grants state pensions bracket (Thousands (yrs) in hh per hh per hh per hh of Rand/month) Farmers 53 ± 134 81 Coloured (12) 13 ± 3 3 ± 1 2 ± 0 0 ± 0 0 ± 0 30-40 White (88) Communal 47 ± 16 47 Black (25) 7 ± 4 5 ± 3 1 ± 1 2 ± 1 1 ± 1 0-5 rural Coloured (75) Urban-Affluent 48 ± 13 57 Black (8) 14 ± 2 3 ± 1 2 ± 1 0 ± 0 0 ± 0 >40 Coloured (4) White (88) Urban-Informal 48 ± 33 38 Black (28) 8 ± 4 5 ± 3 1 ± 1 1 ± 1 1 ± 1 0-5 Coloured (72) Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 5 of 11 understand perceptions and trends about the use of utility vehicle) loads per month or year. The contents of NTFPs from mesquite and native trees. Households twelve bakkie loads and six donkey carts were weighed. were selected at random by conducting interviews with This included eight bakkie loads of mesquite, two of Acacia all available households on randomly selected streets - erioloba and two of A. karroo wood and tree donkey carts although some farmers were located through snowball of mesquite, two of A. erioloba and one of A. karroo wood. sampling as many lived in towns rather than on their There were no significant differences in the mean weights farms. The head of the household and/or those respon- of the different species. We standardised the data for wet sible for the collection of NTFPs were interviewed in bakkie loads (which still had fresh bark and were on aver- their home language (Afrikaans, English, SeTswana, or age a third heavier) to that of dry bakkie loads by subtract- isiXhosa). A translator was used for interviews in house- ing the mean difference between the two. The mean weight holds where interviewees were not conversant in of a bakkie load of wood was 422 ± 119 kg. This is lower English. than the mean of 532 kg for three bakkie loads measured A total of 639 household interviews were conducted by Twine et al. (2003) - there was high variability based on across 10 sites between June and September 2014. These the type of bakkie. The mean mass of a donkey cart load of included 130 interviews with commercial farmers, 100 in wood was 156 ± 66 kg, marginally higher than the average rural communal land villages and 409 in urban areas – of 132 kg per donkey cart found by Shackleton et al. (2006). (276 in informal settlements, 133 in affluent town sub- Market values for fuel wood, honey and pods used to pro- urbs). Farmers were interviewed at all 10 sites. Respon- duce organic medicine were gathered from local traders at dents from urban informal settlements and urban each of the study sites. Because there was no market for affluent areas were not interviewed at Mier and Madi- fodder and fencing poles, a substitute for mesquite pods for beng as these areas only had rural villages on communal fodder -Lucerne pellets - was used (R 3.10 per kg) and the lands. Sample sizes varied across the stakeholder groups valueofnativetreefencing poleswas substitutedfor 3m- and were based on the demographics of different groups long Eucalyptus poles (R 40.00 per pole). and the availability and ease of access for household in- terviews (Shackleton et al. 2015a). Farms in the area are Statistics widely separated making it costly and time-consuming T-tests were used to compare the total use and value to do many interviews. Unemployment is high in urban (numerical data) of native tree species relative to mes- informal areas, so it was possible to conduct interviews quite. One-Way ANOVAs and Tukey post-hoc tests throughout the day. In most households in urban afflu- were used to compare use and value (numerical data) ent areas all the adults in the household worked so inter- between different stakeholder groups. Chi-squared tests views could only be conducted for an hour a day in the were used to compare the differences between usage by early evenings and on weekends. stakeholder groups and perceptions of mesquite and The interviews were semi-structured and comprised native species for variables with categorical data. All as- three main sections: (1) information regarding the demo- sumptions for each test were examined before the tests graphics of the respondent household; (2) questions relat- were run. Some groups of products have very small sam- ing to use of mesquite and native trees; and (3) questions ple sizes precluding statistical analysis. relating to perceptions of NTFPs supplied by mesquite and native species, and changes in patterns of use over Results time. This allowed us to gather information on the prod- Uses of mesquite and native trees ucts and species utilised, amounts used, and local prices Fuelwood was the most common NTFP collected or which allowed for the calculation of direct use values. bought for both mesquite and native species (Table 2). The proportion of fuelwood from native species and Field measurements mesquite varied between stakeholder groups, and fuel- The key resources obtained from trees included fuel- wood from native species was used more amongst three wood, pods used for various products, and fencing poles. stakeholder groups but marginally less by those in Urban For households that had NTFPs at their houses, daily Informal settlements who use mesquite slightly more quantities were measured using a spring scale. Many often. Annual household use and the economic value of households bought resources from local traders, and indica- the use did not differ between mesquite and native trees tions of amounts bought per time frame were gathered. at a household level. However, total use and value of na- Local prices were obtained from traders. Quantities that tive species was higher as more households use native people bought were measured at the local traders. Many species for fuel wood as compared to mesquite. The households did not have NTFPs available for measurement, mean price of fuelwood from native species (R 1.8/kg) but respondents were able to estimate their usage in was also slightly higher than that of mesquite fuelwood common units such as donkey carts or bakkie (small truck/ (R 1.4/kg). The overall household direct use value of Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 6 of 11 Table 2 A comparison of fuel wood use of mesquite and native tree species for different stakeholders. Data are mean ± standard deviation Mesquite fuelwood Native species fuelwood p-value (mesquite vs. native) Stake-holder %ofhh Mean use (kg/ Mean value (R/ %of hh Mean use (kg/ Mean value (R/ %of hh Mean use Mean value group using hh/yr) hh/yr) using hh/yr) hh/yr) using (kg/hh/yr) (R/hh/yr) a a a a Farmers 54 1648 ± 1650 2060 ± 2676 85 1784 ± 1892 2230 ± 2523 0.03 0.630 0.85 b b b b Communal 48 795 ± 1021 930 ± 1229 69 860 ± 1110 1125 ± 1253 0.04 0.17 0.48 rural b c c Urban - affluent 19 392 ± 259 586 ± 343 63 339 ± 271 641 ± 553 0.005 0.39 0.63 b c b Urban - 51 539 ± 721 979 ± 1134 48 528 ± 626 1155 ± 1214 0.869 0 .09 0.42 informal Superscript letters = significant differences between different stakeholder groups - Tukey post hoc test. hh = household native tree fuelwood across all stakeholders was 1.2 not be included in the study for ethical reasons. In rural times higher than that of mesquite. Acacia erioloba, A. areas numerous native tree species were used to make karroo and A. mellifera made up the bulk of native spe- fencing poles. The value of NTFPs other than fuelwood cies used followed by Parkinsonia africana and Searsia was approximately 9.4 times higher for mesquite than lancea. The use of mesquite wood also differed between for native trees. However, fuelwood use overshadowed stakeholder groups (Table 2). Farmers used more mes- this and, all together, the value of direct use NTFP prod- quite fuelwood than other groups. There was no differ- ucts of native trees averaged 1.1 times more than that of ence in use and value of mesquite between other groups. mesquite (Tables 2 and 3). Interestingly, no households Annual use of wood and annual value of fuel wood from in Urban Affluent areas used other (besides for fuel- native species also differed between different stake- wood) NTFPs from mesquite or native tree species holders (Table 2). Farmers used the most, followed by (Table 3). residents in Communal Rural villages and there were no Modes of obtaining NTFP products differed between differences between the urban stakeholder groups who stakeholder groups for both mesquite and native tree used substantially less than the rural stakeholders. species (Fig. 2). Most farmers and people living in rural Mesquite provided more direct-use services than na- communal areas collected products from mesquite and tive trees (Table 3). This included the collection of pods native species themselves, whereas in urban areas most for fodder, beer and the manufacture of an organic blood people purchased these products. The proportion of sugar stabiliser marketed as “Manna”. Pods were col- people selling NTFPs was very similar across all stake- lected by farmers and milled to break the seed, so that holder groups with 2 %–3 % of people selling mesquite they could feed them to livestock while eliminating the and native tree products in Rural Communal areas and risk of spreading the seeds in dung. The collection of Urban-Affluent areas and up to 7 % of respondents sell- pods to produce Manna was restricted to one town ing mesquite products from the Urban-Informal stake- (Prieska). Some farmers also collected honey produced holder group and 7 % of farmers selling native tree from mesquite flowers. Respondents also mentioned that species products. Farmers and people from Urban Afflu- children opportunistically ate the pods from mesquite, ent areas normally had larger-scale operations compared but this was not included in the study as children could to the more informal trade within the Rural Communal Table 3 Usage metrics (mean ± standard deviation) for less commonly used non-timber forest products harvested from mesquite and native trees in South Africa. (hh = household) Farmers Communal rural Urban – informal Resource % of hh Mean use (kg or l/ Mean value (R/ %of hh Mean use (kg or number Mean value %ofhh Mean use (kg/ Mean value using hh/yr) hh/yr) using of poles/hh/yr) (R/hh/yr) using hh/yr) (R/hh/yr) Mesquite Fodder 3.8 1976 ± 1669 6125 ± 5174 2 200 ± 0 620 ± 0 >1 960 ± 0 2976 Beer –– – –– – >1 80 ± 28 120 ± 82 Manna –– – –– – 2.2 1013 ± 193 1215 ± 231 Honey >1 10 700 –– – –– – Native trees Fencing –– – 4 29 ± 23 1170 ± 912 –– – poles Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 7 of 11 2 2 Fig. 2 Methods of securing non-timber forest products from (a) mesquite – (χ = 255.8;p < 0.0005) and (b) native species (χ = 235.2;p < 0.0005) for four stakeholder groups in South Africa areas and Urban Informal areas and employed labourers (making wood collection cheaper and faster); and some to do the work, thus creating valuable jobs. households make beer out of the pods (Table 4). An- other reason for preferring to use mesquite was because Perceptions and trends over time the wood could easily be collected from debris left by In general, most households viewed the products pro- government-sponsored clearing projects. Many people in vided by mesquite as inferior to native species – particu- the Urban Affluent stakeholder group were unsure whether larly in the case of fuelwood (Fig. 3). There were several mesquite products were better than native tree products reasons for this, including that mesquite wood does not and had no particular preference (Fig. 3). generate as much heat or form coals as well as many na- In general, most stakeholders were either using the tive species; mesquite logs have smaller diameters than same amount of mesquite or native tree species, or have those from native species; mesquite has thick thorns that decreased their use of fuel wood over the last 10 years some people consider poisonous, making it relatively dif- (Fig. 4). The primary reasons for reduced use – particularly ficult to harvest and utilise; when the mesquite wood is in Urban-Informal settlements and in Rural Communal vil- slightly wet it produces an unpleasant smoke, and the lages – is the recent electrification of these areas, and in- most commonly mentioned reason was that the wood is creased incomes through grants enabling many people to rapidly powdered by a boring insect as it dries (which move to alternative energy sources such as electricity and means that large quantities of wood cannot be stored gas. Only a small proportion of people in all stakeholder for long periods) (Table 4). A small percentage of re- groups have increased their use of mesquite or native trees spondents preferred mesquite to native species, because for NTFPs. Reasons for increased use include: bigger fam- it produces a highly nutritious fodder; invasive mesquite ilies driving a greater demand for wood, and the lower cost stands are often closer and more accessible to towns of fuel wood compared to electricity. Some people have in- creased their use of mesquite compared to native trees as the mesquite has spread rapidly making the wood are more accessible. Some farmers have also increased their use of mesquite as they are making more effort to control it and so use the wood of trees that have been cut down. Most people in Urban-Affluent areas used the wood primarily for barbeques, a strong tradition in the area, and are using about the same amount of wood as in the past. Discussion Many previous studies of NTFP use from invasive alien plants have focused only on the use value of a single species and provided no comparisons with usage of native species (Chikuni et al. 2004; de Neergaard et al. 2005; Shackleton Fig. 3 Perceptions on the usefulness of non-timber forest products et al. 2007c; Shackleton et al. 2011). Such a comparison is supplied by mesquite compared to native tree species in South Af- important to illustrate the potential value invasive species rica (χ = 189.3;p < 0.0005) can provide but also gives insight into the other alternatives Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 8 of 11 2 2 Table 4 Views of different stakeholders (% of respondents) on the negative (χ = 4.05;p = 0.29) and positive (χ = 11.5;p = 0.0006) aspects of mesquite non-timber forest product provision as compared to those supplied by native trees Negative Positive Stakeholder group Bad smoke Poor quality wood Thorns Turns to dust Fodder Make beer More accessible Farmer 1.8 31.1 19.8 37.0 11.3 – 1.8 Rural Communal 4.6 25.8 24.2 38.5 7.0 – 3.0 Urban - Affluent – 53 6.3 40.1 –– 1.6 Urban - Informal 7.3 25.7 28.6 28.8 10.7 1.1 3.7 and the potential opportunity costs of their use. This study (2) We hypothesised that the introduction of mesquite has shown that the direct use and value of resources pro- would lead to the provision and use of novel resources vided by an introduced “wonder plant” which has now be- in the area, which it has, as mesquite provides a come a major invader - mesquite - is not as high as high as greater diversity of products than native trees in the that of native trees in the arid parts of South Africa. This study area. The most important novel resource is pods suggests that the benefits provided by mesquite are not as which are valued for fodder and to a smaller extent for high as previously assumed, and with rising costs associated theproductionofanorganic medicine andbrewing with spreading invasions, management interventions to re- alcohol (in one town) (Table 3). This study did not duce the extent and density of mesquite are becoming in- quantify the value of consumption of pods by livestock creasingly justifiable. in rangelands, although this is high (Wise et al. 2012). However, any assessment of the value of pods as Findings in relation to hypotheses fodder would have to factor in the loss of grazing where mesquite invades (Ndhlovu et al. 2011), as well (1) We hypothesised that mesquite would be used as the role of livestock in spreading mesquite seeds in more than native species. Our findings indicate, their dung (Shiferaw et al. 2004). however, that native species – particularly Acacia (3) We hypothesised that the natural resources species - provide higher value for direct household provided by mesquite would be preferred to those use to local stakeholders than mesquite provides of native trees. However, our findings indicate that (Tables 2 and 3). The bulk of this use is for fuel- the majority of stakeholders prefer native trees wood which is the most commonly utilised NTFP over mesquite and see products of native species as in other parts of South Africa as well superior (Fig. 3). This is mainly because the wood (Twine 2005; Davenport et al. 2012). This suggests quality of mesquite is perceived as poor for the that mesquite is less useful than previously assumed. reasons highlighted in Table 4, and fuel wood is the It also means that the pressure on native tree most widely used NTFP in the area. In Ethiopia populations remains high as they are still being when production of charcoal was legalised in an utilised and are being displaced by invasive attempt to control mesquite through utilization, mesquite (Schachtschneider and February 2013; locals substituted mesquite with native Acacia Shackleton et al. 2015b, 2015c). tortilis and A. nilotica because these native species 2 2 Fig. 4 A comparison of the use of (a) mesquite (χ = 130.0;p < 0.0005) and (b)native species (χ = 111.5;p < 0.0005) since the year 2000 in South Africa Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 9 of 11 produced larger boles, had smaller spines and Benefits vs. costs were easier to harvest, and because there were Wise et al. (2012) estimated that mesquite invasions perceptions that the smoke from mesquite was were providing a net benefit to local communities in poisonous (A. Witt: unpublished data). This South Africa, but that a net loss will result shortly as provides another example illustrating that native mesquite trees continue to spread. Although mesquite is species are favoured over mesquite, and highlights providing about half of the farmers in the Northern that planting alien species is unlikely to replace the Cape with a mean direct-use value R 2 000 per annum, use of native species, or to protect them. The the mean expenditure of farmers to control mesquite is supply of pods (a novel resource) from mesquite over R 20 000 per farm per annum (Shackleton et al. was the main reason why a small percentage of 2015a). Mesquite invasions have also led to numerous respondents preferred mesquite over native trees. other social, ecological and economic costs such as Mesquite fuelwood was also favoured not because negative impacts on water, grazing potential, biodiversity of its quality but because it could more easily be and infrastructure that have not been fully valued accessed. This has been noted elsewhere; for (Ndhlovu et al. 2011; Dzikiti et al. 2013; Shackleton et al. example, wood from A. mearnsii was perceived to 2015a, 2015c). This suggests that mesquite invasions in be of lower quality than native species in the South Africa generate more costs than benefits. Some Eastern Cape of South Africa, but because it was argue that mesquite invasions play a positive role in that more abundant close to villages it was used more they reduce the use and pressure on native trees (Food (Shackleton et al. 2007a). Different perceptions and Agriculture Organisation FAO 2004). However, relating to the use of natural resources of invasive mesquite invasions are having large-scale negative im- species therefore often relate to their abundance, pacts on native tree population stability, abundance, proximity, novelty, social contexts, factors density and mortality in South Africa (Schachtschneider surrounding introductions, cultural preferences and February 2013; Shackleton et al. 2015b, 2015c) and and the opportunity costs of not using them natives are still being harvested in preference to mes- (Shackleton et al. 2007a;Kulletal. 2011). quite. Native trees will therefore decline as mesquite stands become more widespread and dense, possibly Use patterns and perceptions more so than as a result of direct harvesting. In Kenya, Most previous studies have assessed patterns of use mesquite is negatively impacting populations of native within defined socio-economic groups (Twine et al. species that supply specialised NTFPs, e.g., a palm 2003; Shackleton et al. 2007c; Paumgarten and Shackle- (Hyphaene compressa) used for weaving and thatching ton 2009; Davenport et al. 2012; Thondhlana et al. (Stave et al. 2007). 2012), and not between groups. Our study revealed that use patterns, methods of obtaining the resources, and Conclusion use over time varied between stakeholders within differ- This study, focussing on invasive mesquite species, illus- ent social-economic and land tenure contexts (Tables 2 trates the benefit of understanding the conflicts of inter- and 3; Figs. 2, 3 and 4). We found that those living est caused by invasive species within the developing closer to invasions (farmers and people in rural commu- world, and how understanding natural resource use is nal land villages) mainly collected the NTFPs them- important for informing policy and management. We selves, whereas people in urban areas relied more on suggest that similar studies in other parts of the world purchasing these resources. People living in more rural would help to highlight the relative values of the re- areas also used a higher value of NTFPs compared to sources provided by invasive species and to determine those in urban areas. Interestingly, the traditionally whether invasive alien species provide any unique re- poorer stakeholders are moving away from use of fuel- sources that may be affected by management. Our study wood (Fig. 4) as they adopt alternative energy sources has shown that people preferentially use native species such as electricity, gas and paraffin. The decreasing reli- over mesquite and are decreasing their reliance’s on nat- ance on natural products has also been highlighted in ural resources from trees in general. It also highlights other parts of South Africa, and has been linked to in- that alternative native species are available, if mesquite creased electrification and increased incomes especially was substantially reduced through more effective man- through state grants and pensions (Shackleton et al. agement. Current policy in South Africa is attempting to 2013). However, other sources suggest that the use of simultaneously maximise benefits and minimise harm, NTFPs, especially on a commercial scale, is increasing in but this approach is likely to lead to growing negative some areas (Twine 2005). Those in wealthier stakeholder impacts and continued spread. It would be better to base groups still use similar amounts of NTFPs as there is a policy direction on overall net benefit or loss. Wise et al. strong culture of using wood for barbequing. (2012) predicted that a situation of net losses would Shackleton et al. Forest Ecosystems (2015) 2:16 Page 10 of 11 arise soon, and that the magnitude of the net loss would Kannan R, Shackleton CM, Shaanker RU (2014) Invasive alien species as drivers of socio-ecological systems: local adaptions towards use of Lantana in Southern grow rapidly as mesquite continues to spread. It would India. Environ Dev Sustain 16:649–669 therefore appear to be better to adapt policy and treat Kull CA, Shackleton CM, Cunningham PJ, Ducatillon C, Dufour-Dror J, Esler KJ, mesquite as an undesirable invasive species everywhere Friday JB, Gouveia AC, Griffin AR, Marchante E, Midgley SJ, Pauchard A, Rangan H, Richardson DM, Rinaudo T, Tassin J, Urgenson LS, von Maltitz GP, (category 1), and consider using more damaging bio- Zenni RD, Zylstra MJ (2011) Adoption, use and perception of Australian logical control agents (not only seed-attacking insects). acacias around the world. Divers Distrib 17:822–836 Low T (2012) In denial about dangerous aid. Biol Invasions 14:2235–2236 Competing interests Mazibuko DM (2012) Phylogenetic relationship of Prosopis in South Africa: An The authors declare that they have no competing interests. assessment of the extent of hybridization, and the role of genome size and seed size in the invasion dynamics. MSc Dissertation, Stellenbosch University Authors’ contributions Milton JJ, Dean WRJ, Richardson DM (2003) Economic incentives for restoring All authors conceived the study. RTS collected the data, performed statistical natural capital in southern African rangelands. Front Ecol Environ 1:247–254 analysis. All authors helped to draft manuscript. All authors read and Mucina L, Rutherford MC (2006) The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and approved the final manuscript. Swaziland. Strelitzia, 19. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Ndhlovu T, Milton-Dean SJ, Esler KJ (2011) Impact of Prosopis (mesquite) invasion Acknowledgements and clearing on the grazing capacity of semiarid Nama Karoo rangeland, We thank all the participants who were interviewed and the translators for South Africa. Afr J Range Forage Sci 28:129–137 their hard work. This research was supported by the DST-NRF Centre of Ex- Negi VS, Maikhuri RK, Rawat LS (2011) Non-timber forest products (NTFPs): cellence for Invasion Biology and Working for Water Programme through a viable option for biodiversity conservation and livelihood enhancement in their collaborative research project on “Integrated management of invasive central Himalaya. Biodiver Conserv 20:545–559 alien species in South Africa” and the National Research Foundation (grant 85417 Pasiecznik NM, Felker P, Harris PJC, Harsh LN, Cruz G, Tewari JC, Cadoret K, to DMR). Maldonado LJ (2001) The Prosopis juliflora-Prosopis pallida complex: A monograph. HDRA, Coventry, UK Author details 1 Pasiecznik NM, Choge SK, Muthike GM, Chesang S, Fehr C, Blackwell-Stone P, et Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, 2 al (2006) Putting knowledge on Prosopis into good use in Kenya. Pioneering Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa. Centre for Invasion advances in 2006. KEFRI and HDRA, Nairobi and Coventry Biology, Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, P.O. Box 320, Paumgarten F, Shackleton CM (2009) Wealth differentiation in household use and Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa. trade in non-timber forest products in South Africa. Ecol Econ 68:2950–2959 Poynton RJ (2009) Tree planting in southern Africa, volume 3: Other genera. Received: 16 March 2015 Accepted: 4 May 2015 Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Pretoria, South Africa Rejmánek M, Richardson DM (2013) Trees and shrubs as invasive alien species – 2013 update of the global database. Divers Distrib 19:1093–1094 References Richardson DM (2011) Forestry and agroforestry. In: Simberloff D, Rejmánek M Australian Weeds Committee (2012) Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) strategic plan (eds) Encyclopedia of biological invasions. University of California Press, 2012–17. 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Agr Ecosys Environ 37:175–186 Submit your manuscript to a journal and benefi t from: 7 Convenient online submission 7 Rigorous peer review 7 Immediate publication on acceptance 7 Open access: articles freely available online 7 High visibility within the fi eld 7 Retaining the copyright to your article Submit your next manuscript at 7 springeropen.com

Journal

"Forest Ecosystems"Springer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2015

Keywords: Ecology; Ecosystems; Forestry

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