Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another success story

"Agricultural experts, government officials and local communities in Hadramaut Governorate, southern Yemen, are urging the government to tackle an evergreen and fast-growing shrub which has been blocking waterways, with sometimes devastating consequences.

They say the shrub is responsible for exacerbating the late October floods by blocking watercourses and diverting floodwater into villages which might otherwise have been unscathed. At least 90 people were killed, and 20,000-25,000 were made homeless by the floods.

The governor of Hadramaut, Salem al-Khanbishi, told IRIN the shrub must be eradicated. "We must find a quick solution to the shrubs; they're one of the reasons for the recent disaster in the governorate. NGOs and the government must work together to uproot them," he said.

Prosopis juliflora - commonly known as Mesquite and introduced several decades ago to combat desertification and stabilise sand dunes - is native to the Americas, tolerates harsh, arid, saline conditions, and has spread throughout arable parts of Hadramaut." (Thanks Rania)


The tree of the Yemeni low altitude drylands. With its very deep root system, sometimes reaching over 20m deep, Prosopis can survive in the harshest environments. They are often the only green you see in the desert and animals and birds use them for shelter. You also find them in large numbers in bahrain and probably in other Arabian Gulf countries. A few years ago I was consulted on this issue in Yemen, and my recommendation was to turn them into charcoal, which would make people trim them regularly and kill the seeds. I still think we should try to manage them and use them instead of trying to eradicate them. Of course, it would have been better not to introduce them to start with.

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