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Collaborating on Invasive Species Management in Ethiopia

Cover to the Prosopis Management Field Guide, created in collaboration between the Forest Service and the government of Ethiopia.

ETHIOPIA — In November, the Forest Service sent a communications specialist to Ethiopia to provide support on managing an invasive species that is wreaking havoc on the landscape of the arid country. Prosopis juliflora, an invasive thorny evergreen leguminous tree/shrub, has had several negative impacts on pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods in Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa. Aside from being difficult to control and eradicate, it has caused loss of forage and indigenous trees with a high browsing value for livestock. This loss is compounded by increased grazing pressure on lands not yet invaded by Prosopis.

Jessica Dunn, Region 3, and Alison Holt, International Programs, spent a week in Addis Ababa working with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Ethiopian government and a few nongovernmental organizations to develop a field manual for managing this aggressive invasive species. Faith Ryan, Region 4, provided remote technical support. The team met with an in-country Prosopis task force and community stakeholders to discuss best management techniques and community needs. As a result of the trip, the team is putting together a field manual to guide extension agents and other land-users to properly manage Prosopis in their communities.

The Forest Service has worked in Ethiopia since 2005 on rangeland management with the support of the USAID mission in Addis Ababa. In 2011, a Forest Service team traveled to Ethiopia to work with partners to minimize the ecological and social economic impacts of invasive species on rangelands, in particular that of Prosopis juliflora.