Valuing local perspectives on invasive species management: moving beyond the ecosystem service-disservice dichotomy.
This paper uses the concept of ecosystem disservices to explore and understand how rapid environmental change associated with an invasive plant species is framed and understood by different stakeholders. Through a focus on narratives, the paper explores how socially-differentiated populations understand the causes and consequences of a plant invasion and express preferences for often contrasting management interventions. The research design uses a workshop format to instigate a series of conversations with socially-differentiated groups of people to explore how people perceive and respond to the impact of Prosopis juliflora (a species of mesquite) in the drylands of Ethiopia. The results show that preferences for interventions differs by age, gender, location and livelihood and also by primary and secondary stakeholder. Different sets of values underpin people's views and these contribute to the variation in the preference for different management interventions. To understand complex issues associated with alien invasive species, we find that the dichotomy between ecosystem services and disservices is artificial and call for a more dynamic and graduated view of ecosystem outputs. More practically, our research shows that P. juliflora management options need wider consideration of socially-differentiated implications and trade-offs and this requires greater efforts to engage with primary stakeholders.