oa Alternation - What'll we do with wattle? the dualistic nature of Acacia mearnsii as both a resource and an alien invasive species, Swaziland

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Within southern Africa, Black wattle (Acacia mearnsii), an indigenous tree of south-eastern Australia, hereafter referred to as wattle, is perceived differently depending upon country and stakeholder. The species was first introduced to the southern Africa region through South Africa in the 1860s, and systematic plantation establishment began in the early 1900s (Chaunbi 1997). The main attraction of this fast-growing alien invasive species was its commercial value within the timber and tannin industry and lack of indigenous forest species within southern Africa for commercial and subsistence use. During the 1950s it is estimated that wattle plantations in South Africa covered 360 000 ha, these supplied tannins which lead to the development of an extremely competitive tanbark industry particularly in South Africa (Kull & Rangan 2007). However, wattle has the capacity to spread outside of plantation areas, and has established self-reproducing, invasive populations in natural ecosystems, and thus the call for management and control of the species.

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