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Charcoal production from invasive Prosopis juliflora in Baringo County, Kenya

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Key lessons

  • Originally introduced to dryland areas in Kenya as a solution to deforestation and fuelwood shortages, the shrub Prosopis juliflora has become highly invasive, displacing native plants, and negatively impacting both biodiversity and livelihoods.
  • Efforts to control Prosopis include, among others, using it to produce sustainable charcoal, which can both fill a major bioenergy gap and clear land for agriculture.
  • However, limited knowledge and a lack of proper equipment for pruning have prevented communities from realizing the full economic potential of Prosopis.
  • In Baringo County, CIFOR-ICRAF and partners took an integrated approach to sustainable charcoal production using Prosopis, through participatory mapping and ‘training of trainers’ on sustainable harvesting and the use of improved kilns.
  • Results show that using Prosopis for charcoal production is sustainable in three ways: it is abundant, it can be regenerated through selective pruning, and it produces high-quality charcoal more efficiently than other woody species.
  • This brief describes these results and offers recommendations for the use of invasive species for charcoal production.

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