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Invasive species in East Africa

 

Photo credit: WVC  2000-06-BRASIL-OPUNTIA02 copy.jpg

Huge plantations of the spineless Opuntia (food, fodder, economics) in N. E. Brasil

Alien plants turn East Africa into ‘green desert’

Invasive species can have unpredictable impacts on new habitats. They can alter the food chain, and overpopulate entire regions at the expense of local animals and plants.

Living creatures have always moved at different rates around the planet. But human transport can rapidly carry animals and plants around the world. Those who thrive in new places will irreparably change localbiodiversity.

In East Africa, the proliferation of alien plants such as Opuntia stricta, Prosopis and Parthenium, all captured in this photo gallery, threaten the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities.

See: SciDevNet

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QUESTIONS by Willem Van Cotthem

(1) What if the spineless Opuntia ficus-indica var. inermis instead of Opuntia stricta was introduced ? See Goigle: “nopales”.

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(2) What if the edible Elephant bush or spekboom (Portulacaria afra) was introduced instead of Prosopis ?

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(3) What if the drought-tolerant Navajo willow (Salix matsudana var. Navajo) was introduced instead of Parthenium ?

 

Some species never become invasive if the local people can eat or use them.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.