The colonisation of land by alien invasive plants is increasingly being recognised as a significant form of land degradation. One of the most common invasive plants in the drylands of continental Africa is mesquite (or “prosopis”) from tropical America. This invasive species (or series of species and hybrids) causes damage to both native biodiversity and peoples’ livelihoods.
Recognising that the management and control of Mesquite is a transboundary issue, the Kalahari Namib Project, funded by UNEP GEF has supported the Government of Botswana to develop an Integrated National Mesquite (prosopis species) Management (INMM) Strategy based on experiences from participating partners; Namibia and South Africa. Mesquite plays a critical role in maintaining rangeland condition and fragile ecosystems in a productive state, whilst on the other hand, dense and widespread populations of mesquite cause environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and destruction of infrastructure, as well as reduction of food security – all of which may be exacerbated by climate change. The Kalahari Namib Project would like to highlight the challenges in the Kalahari Namib Ecosystem and support pilot demonstration projects geared at effective management and control.
The objectives of this side event is to “provide a platform for the international community to share lessons, discuss, debate and recommend solutions to managing and controlling the spread of Prosopis in the Kalahari Namib Ecosystem, a critical dryland ecosystem in the SADC region”. This side event will contribute to knowledge brokering on critical issues affecting dryland ecosystems globally.
The main expected output is a set of recommendations/priority research focus areas for the SADC region, on the impacts of invasive Prosopis on dryland biodiversity and livelihoods in the Kalahari Namib Ecosystem.
The side event will be convened through:
· an introductory presentation/video highlighting community challenges and experiences related to invasive mesquite in dryland Africa,
· a presentation on current successes and in the management and control of Prosopis in dryland ecosystems elsewhere, followed by
· a high level moderated panel discussion, and
· a comment and question session.
Panelists will include experts from the International community (e.g. experts from Australia), the SADC Region and Government representatives.