Prosopis L. Invasion in the South-Western Region of Botswana: The Perceptions of Rural Communities and Management Options


This study was aimed to determine the extent to which Prosopis species had invaded four settlements (Bokspits, Rappelspan, Vaalhoek and Struizendam) located in the Kgalagadi Desert south west of Botswana, investigate the perceptions of the communities about the existence of the species in their environment and assess possible control options for the spread of Prosopis plants in the area. Prosopis plants were sampled in 42 quadrats of 625 m2 along a 70 km Prosopis invasion gradient from Struizendam to Rappelspan. Using the Global Positioning System (GPS), the locations of all quadrats were established. The distribution map of Prosopis plants was produced using ArcGIS 9.2 (ESRI Inc.). Questionnaire survey and focused group discussions were used to collect data on the perceptions of rural communities about the species. A total of 342 respondents comprising 139 males and 203 females were interviewed, and four focussed group discussions were conducted. The results indicated that the invasion of Prosopis species was prominent in and around settlements suggesting that anthropogenic activities had a significant role in the spread of Prosopis plants in the area. The perceptions of rural communities about Prosopis plants appeared to be moulded by the impacts of the plants on their livelihoods as well as their micro-economic status. The respondents (71.30%) expressed the view that the invasion of Prosopis species negatively affected the livelihoods of the communities in the study area. They identified eradication as the preferred method of controlling the spread of Prosopis plants. On the contrary, this study recommended the integrated environmental management paradigm as the best options for the control of the spread of Prosopis plants in the area.

Share and Cite:

S. Mosweu, C. Munyati, T. Kabanda, M. Setshogo and M. Muzila, "Prosopis L. Invasion in the South-Western Region of Botswana: The Perceptions of Rural Communities and Management Options," Natural Resources, Vol. 4 No. 8, 2013, pp. 496-505. doi: 10.4236/nr.2013.48061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] N. M. Pasiecznik, “The Prosopis juliflora-Prosopis pallida Complex: A Monograph,” HDRA, Coventry, 2001.
[2] A. Burkart, “A Monograph of the Genus Prosopis (Leguminosae sub-fam. Mimosoideae). (Part 1 and 2). Catalogue of the Recognized Species of Prosopis,” Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, Vol. 57, 1976, pp. 219-249.
[3] N. M. Pasiecznik, “Prosopis: Pest or Providence, Weed or Wonder Tree?” European Tropical Forest Research Network Newsletter, Vol. 28, 1999, pp. 12-14.
[4] J. Timberlake, “Handbook of Botswana Acacias,” Ministry of Agriculture, Gaborone, 1980.
[5] M. A. El Fadl and O. Luukkanen, “Effect of Pruning on Prosopis juliflora: Considerations for Tropical Dryland Agroforerstry,” Journal of Arid Environments, Vol. 53, No. 4, 2003, pp. 441455.
[6] Varshney, “Overview of the Use of Prosopis juliflora for Livestock Feed, Gum, Honey, and Charcoal, As Well As Incombating Drought and Desertification: A Regional Case Studyfrom Gujarat, India,” In: P. Felker and J. Moss, Eds., Prosopis: Semiarid Fuelwood and Forage Tree; Building Consensus for the Disenfranchised, Center for Semi-Arid Forest Resources, Kingsville, 1996, pp. 6.35-6.4
[7] E. Mwangi and B. Swallow, “Invasion of Prosopis juliflora and Local Livelihoods: Case Study from the Lake Baringo Area of Kenya,” ICRAF Working Paper No. 3, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, 2005.
[8] Centre for Applied Research, “Review of Institutional and Legal Arrangements for Community-Based Management of Rangelands in Botswana,” IVPBOT04/020, Botswana, 2004.
[9] A. Burkart and B. B. Simpson, “The Genus Prosopis and Annoted Key to the Species of the World,” In: B. B. Simpson, Ed., Mesquite: Its Biology in Two Desert Ecosystems, Hutchinson and Ross, Dowden, 1977, pp. 201-215.
[10] H. Bokrezion, “The Ecological and Socio-Economic Role of Prosopis juliflora in Eritrea; An Analytical Assessment within the Context of Rural Development in the Horn of Africa,” Ph.D. Thesis, University of Mainz, Mainz, 2008.
[11] J. Laxén, “Is Prosopis a Curse or a Blessing?—An Ecological-Economic Analysis of an Invasive Alien Tree Species in Sudan,” Viiki Tropical Resources Institute, Finland, 2005.
[12] T. Mutsambiwa, G. E. Ali and I. H. ElTahir, “Community Forestry Project,” UNEP Evaluation Mission Report, Sudan, 1998.
[13] M. A. El Fadl, “Management of Prosopis juliflora for Use in Agroforestry Systems in the Sudan,” Tropical Forestry Reports 16, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, 1997.
[14] V. Muthaiya and P. Felker, “Influence of Phosphorus and Silviculture Treatments on Leaf and Soil Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations in a Mature Prosopis glandulosa (Mesquite) Stand,” Journal of Arid Environments, Vol. 35, No. 3,1997, pp. 487-498.
[15] P. Felker and J. Moss, Eds., “Prosopis: Semiarid Fuelwood and Forage Tree; Building Consensus for the Disenfranchised,” Center for Semi-Arid Forest Resources, Kingsville, 1996.
[16] A. I. Abdel Gaabar, “1. Proximate Composition of Mesquite Prosopis chilensis (Mollina) Stuntz Pods, Seeds and Leaves and 2. Digestibility Trials,” Pamphlet No. 2, Prosopis Project, Sudan, Forestry Research Centre, 1986, p. 10.
[17] P. Felker, “Economic, Environmental and Social Advantages of Intensively Managed Short Rotation Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) Biomass Energy Farms,” Biomass, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1984, pp. 65-77.
[18] O. P. Vimal and P. D. Tyagi, “Prosopis juliflora: Chemistry and Utilization,” In: V. J. Patel, Ed., The Role of Prosopis in Wasteland Development, Agroforestry Center, Gujarat, 1986, pp. OVP1-OVP8.
[19] J. Doat, “Tannins in Tropical Woods,” Bois et Forêts des Tropiques, Vol. 182, 1978, pp. 37-54.
[20] H. D. Neuwinger, “African Ethnobotany: Poisons and Drugs,” Chapman and Hall, London, 1996.
[21] J. Foster and L. A. Sandberg, “Friend or Foe? Invasive Species and Public Green Space in Toronto,” Geographical Review, Vol. 94, No. 2, 2004, pp. 178-198.
[22] K. R. Rai, H. Scarborough, N. Subedi and B. Lamichhane, “Invasive Plants: Do They Devastate or Diversify Rural Livelihoods? Rural Farmers’ Perceptions of Three Invasive Plants in Nepal,” Journal for Nature Conservation, Vol. 20, No. 3, 2012, pp. 170-176.
[23] P. Binggeli, “The Human Dimension of Invasive Woody Plants,” In: J. A. McNeely, Ed., The Great ReshufflingHuman Dimensions of Invasive Alien Species, IUCN, Gland, 2001, pp.145-159.
[24] M. Muzila, M. P. Setshogo, B. Moseki and R. Morapedi, “An Assessment of Prosopis L. in the Bokspits Area, South-Western Botswana, Based on Morphology,” The African Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology, Vol. 5, 2011, pp. 75-80.
[25] Y. P. R. Bhalotra, “Rainfall Maps of Botswana,” Department of Meteorological Services, Gaborone, 1985.
[26] R. B. Lee and I. Devore, “Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the Kung San and their Neighbours,” Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1976.
[27] P. Devitt, “Man and His Environment in Western Kalahari or a Little Technology Is Dangerous Thing,” Botswana Notes and Records, Vol. 3, 1971, pp. 50-56.
[28] I. M. Tabosa, J. C. Souza, D. L. Graca, J. M. Barbosa Filho, R. N. Almeida and F. Riet-Correa, “Neuronal Vacuolation of the Trigeminal Nuclei in Goats Caused by Ingestion of Prosopis juliflora Pods,” Veterinary and Humum Toxicology, Vol. 42, 2000, pp. 155-158.
[29] M. Mahgoub, T. Isam, I. T. Kadim, N. E. Forsberg, D. S. Al-Ajmi, N. M. Al-Saqry, A. S. Al-Abri and K. Annamalai, “Evaluation of Meskit (Prosopis juliflora) Pods as a Feed for Goats,” Animal Feed Science and Technology, Vol. 121, No. 3, 2005, pp. 319-327.
[30] O. Mahgoub, I. T. Kadim, E. H. Johnson, A. Srikandakumar, N. M. Al-saqri, A. S. Al-abri and A. Ritchie, “The Use of a Concentrate Containing Meskit (Prosopis juliflora) Pods and Date Palm By-Products to Replacecommercial Concentrate in Diets of Omani Sheep,” Animal Feed Science and Technology, Vol. 120, No. 1, 2005, pp. 33-41.
[31] C. E. Fisher, C. H. Meadors, R. Behrens, E. D. Robinson, P. T. Marion and H. L. Morton, “Control of Mesquite on Grazing Lands,” Texas Agricultural Experiment Bulletin, Vol. 935, 1959, pp. 1-24.
[32] R. H. Groves and F. D. Panetta, “Some General Principles for Weed Eradication Programs,” In: H. Spafford Jacob, J. Dodd and J. H. Moore, Eds., 13th Australian Weeds Conference: Papers and Proceedings, Plant Protection Society of WA Inc., Perth, 2002, pp. 307-310.
[33] A. A. Sharov and A. M. Liebhold, “Bioeconomics of the Managing the Spread of Exotic Pest Species with Barrier Zones,” Ecological Application, Vol. 8, No. 3, 1998, pp. 833-845.
[34] S. Csurhes, “Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) in Queensland – Pest Status Review Series,” Department of Natural resources and Mines, Queensland, 1996.
[35] H. G. Zimmermann and N. M. Pasiecznik, “Realistic Approaches to the Management of Prosopis Species in South Africa,” HDRA, Coventry, 2005.
[36] J. H. Hoffmann, F. A. C. Impson and V. C. Moran, “Competitive Interactions between Two Bruchid Species (Algarobius spp.) Introduced into South Africa for Biological Control of Mesquite Weeds (Prosopis spp.),” Biological Control, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1993, pp 215-220.
[37] J. H. Hoffmann, F. A. C. Impson and V. C. Moran, “Biological Control of Mesquite Weeds in South Africa Using a Seed-Feeding Bruchid, Algarobius prosopis: Initial Levels of Interference by Native Parasitoids,” Biological Control, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1993, pp. 17-21.
[38] W. Coetzer and J. H. Hoffmann, “Establishment of Neltumius arizonensis (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) on Mesquite (Prosopis Species: Mimosaceae) in South Africa,” Biological Control, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1997, pp. 187-192.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.