May 24, 2016

2016: ITP Highlight # 07

Prosopis is an invasive species that causes environmental and socio-economic damage. Sakthivadivel discusses its spread in Tamil Nadu's tanks and the strategies local communities are adopting to get rid of it...

Prosopis Juliflora in the Irrigation Tanks of Tamil Nadu

R. Sakthivadivel

Introduced as an alternative for fuel wood, Prosopis juliflora has become established as an invasive weed in India and many parts of Asia and Africa. In our exploration, we found that most villagers know that P. juliflora sucks groundwater through its deep roots; creates health problems like asthma and respiratory diseases; acts as an excellent hiding place for robbers, wild boars and stray dogs; prevents desiltation of tanks and essentially sounds the death knell for tank irrigation. Some farmers even attribute reduction in rainfall to pervasive prosopis infestation. However, getting rid of it is not easy and villagers' response to infestation varies depending on the economic benefits they derive out of it. This Highlight looks at the spread of P. juliflora in Tamil Nadu with a view to understanding: [a] its impact on irrigation; and [b] various mitigation strategies adopted by communities.

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