Stakeholder perceptions and practices regarding Prosopis (mesquite) invasions and management in South Africa
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Invasive alien trees impact the environment and human livelihoods. The human dimensions of such invasions are less well understood than the ecological aspects, and this is hindering the development of effective management strategies. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to investigate the knowledge and perceptions of Prosopis between different stakeholder groups. Chi-squared tests, Welch ANOVAs, and Principle Component Analyses were run. Factors such as land tenure and proximity to invasions were especially important for explaining differences in perceptions and practices relating to Prosopis among different stakeholder groups. Most respondents were aware of Prosopis and considered it to be invasive (i.e., spreading). Costs associated with Prosopis were perceived to exceed benefits, and most stakeholders wanted to see a reduction in the abundance of Prosopis stands. The mean total cost for the management of Prosopis was US$ 1914 year−1 per farm, where costs ranged from under US$ 10 to over UD$ 500 per ha based on invasion densities and objectives for control. The findings highlight the need for more effective management interventions.
KeywordsBiological invasions Human perceptions Indigenous knowledge Management Stakeholder perceptions Tree invasions
Funding for this work was provided by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology and the Working for Water program through their collaborative research project on “Integrated management of invasive alien species in South Africa.” DMR acknowledges additional support from the National Research Foundation (grant 85417).
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