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Since (India) colonial times, planners, policy makers and forestry experts have given much emphasis to introducing fast growing and well adapted exotic woody species from iso-climatic regions of the world into arid and semi-arid India. Some of these exhibited remarkable adaptability and growth in their new habitats. Prosopis juliflora (SwartzDC is one of these species that has performed much better than many native woody species. At the moment, P. juliflora provides approximately 75% of the fuelwood needs of rural people in arid and semi-arid regions of India. The species has become naturalised and has spread over the greater part of north-west, central, west and south India.

With its tremendous ability to adapt to arid and semi-arid environmentsand its fast growth and multiple utility, it has long been recognised by foresters as a versatile species for afforestation. However, rural people in arid and semi-arid regions of India are a little apprehensive of this species as (i) they consider that the species adversely affects crop growth and production; (ii) there is a fear that it may become a weedand (iii) the thorny stems and branches of the species often cause injury to humans and animals, and hinder agricultural operations.

Whatever advantages and disadvantages may be associated with the species, P. juliflora has become a prominent woody species in agro-ecosystems of arid and semi-arid regions of India. The species is used widely in plantation forestry activities in wastelands, village common lands, grazing lands, along railway lines and roads, canal and village pond banks, and degraded forested lands. Moreovernatural regeneration is profuse throughout the entire arid and semi-arid regions of the country.