Prosopis Species—An Invasive Species and a Potential Source of Browse for Livestock in Semi-Arid Areas of South Africa

Khuliso Emmanuel Ravhuhali, Humbelani Silas Mudau, Bethwell Moyo, Onke Hawu, Ntokozo Happy Msiza
2021 Sustainability  
Globally, there have been differing views on whether the proliferation of invasive species will be of benefit as a livestock feed source or it will have detrimental effects on the ecosystem. The infestation of invasive plants such as Prosopis species does not only affect the groundwater levels but also threatens the grazing capacity and species richness of most of the semi-arid areas around South Africa. Though Prosopis is invasive, it is however of good nutritive value and can serve as an
more » ... native source of protein and minerals for livestock during the dry season. Bush encroachment by browsable invasive species can be controlled through biological methods by using organisms such as livestock. The utilisation of Prosopis through browse benefits livestock production and at the same time reduces its spread, thereby preventing possible environmental harm that may arise. Although several studies have been carried out globally on the assessment of the Prosopis species' nutritive value and also on the threat of this invasive species to the environment, there is a need to update the state of knowledge on this species, particularly in the context of the semi-arid areas of South Africa where the dry season is characterised by less herbage of poor quality. It is therefore critical to understand whether Prosopis is a beneficial invader, or a detriment that needs to be eradicated. This review will contribute knowledge towards finding practical solutions to controlling Prosopis species and whether utilising Prosopis as a feed source will limit its spread and result in a vegetation structure where Prosopis becomes part of the ecosystem with limited detrimental impact. This means that the several components of the species such as nutritive value and the negative impact associated with this plant species along with the means to control its spreading must be well understood to recognise the plant species' vital contribution to the ecosystem.
doi:10.3390/su13137369 doaj:35cb67682906484a9da7e6ac926d6592 fatcat:ovs64gug2zap5ntneidrogc6na