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Devil of a problem: the tree that's eating Africa

It was introduced as a force for good. But the mesquite tree has taken to Ethiopia's soil with such relentless enthusiasm that it threatens the livelihood of thousands. Caroline Irby reports

27 August 2004

In Ethiopia they call it the Devil Tree. It is both an addiction and an affliction. In this largely pastoral country there are many people who can't do without it: it provides shelter, building materials, fencing for livestock, firewood, charcoal and shade from the fierce African sun.

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