Abstract for:Modelling Dynamics of Prosopis juliflora in Banni, India, using a Land-Biomass Simulation Model

The Banni grassland lies in arid Kachchh, Gujarat, India. Its green forage production has fallen significantly since the 1960s.  One of the reasons attributed to this is the introduction of Prosopis juliflora (PJ), an alien invasive species in the 1960s. PJ has today spread over the Banni region, occupying more than 50% of the land area, replacing grassland. It has also greatly hampered the traditionally dominant livelihood of Banni—semi-nomadic pastoralism—while giving rise to an alternative livelihood, charcoal-making using PJ biomass. Currently there is an ongoing discussion among the people of Banni, as well as  the research and policy community, about whether a planned removal of PJ for grassland restoration is an effort worth pursuing, and what the ecological and socioeconomic costs and benefits of such an exercise may be. This Work-in-Progress submission describes an evolving system dynamics simulation model of the land-biomass coupled system of Banni, made in a participatory manner. Some preliminary insights derived from it are also shared. It forms a part of a larger social-ecological-economic model being made, with the goal of creating an insight-building tool and facilitating its use by the multiple stakeholders of Banni to test outcomes of various policy options.