Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Distribution of invasive species Prosopis juliflora (Mimosaceae) in Fujairah (UAE).

Abstract

The secondary range of the mesquite, or Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC. (Mimosaceae or Fabaceae s.l.) in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is analyzed. The features of its distribution, seed germination, and early stages of seedling development are studied. Mesquite appeared on the territory of the Emirates in the 20th century: one of the first herbarium collections was dated 1983. In the secondary range, it is most often found in anthropogenic habitats: in gardens, along fences, near roads, on wastelands, less often on the streets, etc. P. juliflora successfully naturalizes and creates stable self-reproducing populations. It possesses a complex of specific helio-mesomorphic structural features, which allows it to successfully take root in relatively open, moderately humid and even dry or saline habitats and to compete with native species of acasia (Acacia tortilis, A. ehrenbergii) and Prosopis cineraria. Features such as high germination of seeds and significant morphological, dimensional, and temporal variability of premature individuals of P. juliflora identified in this study undoubtedly contribute to the successful naturalization of the species in the secondary range and its wide distribution throughout the emirates. Owing to the high aggressiveness of mesquite, it is necessary to develop a methodology for combating this plant in the UAE, which will stop its uncontrolled settlement in the region. A map of the distribution of the species in Fujairah and the surrounding areas has been compiled, clearly showing the scale of the disaster. A method for assessing the invasion on a five-point scale, based on the reproductive success of the species, has been developed and applied. The structure of ecotopes at the early stages of the invasion of P. juliflora was analyzed on large wastelands (2 and 1.2 ha) in the settlements of Mirbah and Fujairah on the coast of the Gulf of Oman.