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The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) was established based on a very small team of researchers at the University of the Free State and focused on a single threatening Eucalyptus disease problem. The programme has since grown to become highly recognised internationally as the single strongest programme dealing with pest and pathogen problems in plantation forestry in the world. The TPCP has also brought huge energy to agricultural research and education in the biological sciences in South Africa. For example, it formed the foundation for the establishment of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, which in just 16 years has become a flagship research centre promoting many aspects of plant improvement in South Africa.

The TPCP represents a Co-operative research initiative between the University of Pretoria and all private forestry companies in South Africa. It is also supported by the South African Government Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Other than long and short-term research, the TPCP provides members with extension services, training of forestry students at Universities, access to a world-class disease and pest diagnostic clinic and guidance in dealing with tree pest and pathogen problems. One of the key products of the TPCP is to produce biological control agents for insect pests that damage plantations belonging to members. This work depends on outstanding quarantine green house and related facilities.

The TPCP formed the basis for the establishment of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB). This programme focuses on the health of native South African trees. Given that pests and pathogens are moving from native to non-native plantation trees and vice versa, there is substantial synergy between these two programmes.

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Linnakoski R, Mahilainen S, Harrington A, Vanhanen H, Eriksson M, Mehtätalo L, Pappinen A, Wingfield MJ. (2016) Seasonal succession of fungi associated with Ips typographus beetles and their phoretic mites in an outbreak region of Finland. PLoS ONE 11(5):e0155622. 10.1371/journal.pone.0155622 PDF
McTaggart AR, van der Nest MA, Steenkamp ET, Roux J, Slippers B, Shuey LS, Wingfield MJ, Drenth A. (2016) Fungal Genomics Challenges the Dogma of Name-Based Biosecurity. PLoS Pathogens 12(5):e1005475. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005475 PDF
Linnakoski R, Jankowiak R, Villari C, Kirisits T, Solheim H, de Beer ZW, Wingfield MJ. (2016) The Ophiostoma clavatum species complex: a newly defined group in the Ophiostomatales including three novel taxa. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek :1-32. 10.1007/s10482-016-0700-y
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Roux G, Foit J, Langor DW, Hurley BP. (2016) Identification and genetic diversity of two invasive Pissodes spp. Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in their introduced range in the southern hemisphere. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-016-1159-5
Lee DH, Roux J, Wingfield BD, Barnes I, Wingfield MJ. (2016) New host range and distribution of Ceratocystis pirilliformis in South Africa. European Journal of Plant Pathology 10.1007/s10658-016-0933-7