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Using landscape assessment and participatory ecosystem assessment to investigate the impact of invasive Prosopis juliflora: a case study in North West India.

Using landscape assessment and participatory ecosystem assessment to investigate the impact of invasive Prosopis juliflora: a case study in North West India.

Bartlett, Deborah and Milliken, Sarah (2018) Using landscape assessment and participatory ecosystem assessment to investigate the impact of invasive Prosopis juliflora: a case study in North West India. In: Invasion Science: Connecting Research Science and Policy, 1-2 November 2018, Charles Darwin House, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This project was initiated by concerns about the invasive Prosopis juliflora, originally introduced to Kachchh, Northern Gujarat, to prevent the Rann desert spreading. While arguably successful in this regard, it has spread widely due to its ability to withstand both drought and high levels of soil salinity. While the negative impacts on grassland ecology and as an agricultural ‘weed’ were well established, we began our investigation by asking if there any benefits associated with this plant. This involved initially carrying out landscape character assessment and then focusing on one region, the coastal plain, to develop this further into an ecosystem services assessment, involving focus group discussions with local villagers to incorporate indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge into the process. This enabled a ‘Natural Character Area Profile’ to be formulated as a resource for land use planners and decision makers, using the framework developed by Natural England in the ‘Access to Evidence’ project, with the aim of raising the profile of environmental attributes and local ecosystem services in policy development and decision making. We held a workshop to present this to stakeholders, including both decision makers and those who had shared their knowledge and experience with us. Despite concern voiced by ecologists about the need to eradicate P juliflora , this (impractical) view was not shared by villagers who, although finding it a ‘nuisance’ as a weed and with thorns could injure humans and livestock, valued it for fuel wood, fodder, honey and medicinal gum. Their key concerns were the need for fences and declining soil fertility, associated with increased salinity. We were able to respond to these concerns by experimenting with using this shrub to create ‘living fences’ and to make biochar as a soil improver.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Invasive non-native; Prosopis; community; participation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Biology & Biotechnology Research Group
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Department of Life & Sports Sciences
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2019 01:52
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/22369

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