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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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Human MP, Barnes I, Craven M, Crampton BG. (2016) Lack of population structure and mixed reproduction modes in Exserohilum turcicum from South Africa. Phytopathology 10.1094/PHYTO-12-15-0311-R
Muller MF, Barnes I, Kunene NT, Crampton BG, Bluhm B, Phillips S, Olivier NA, Berger DK. (2016) Cercospora zeina from maize in South Africa exhibits high genetic diversity and lack of regional population differentiation. Phytopathology 10.1094/PHYTO-02-16-0084-FI
Reitmann A, Berger DK, Van den Berg. (2016) Putative pathogenicity genes of Phytophthora cinnamomi identified via RNA-Seq analysis of pre-infection structures. European Journal of Plant Pathology 10.1007/s10658-016-0993-8
Zlatković M, Keča N, Wingfield MJ, Jami F, Slippers B. (2016) Shot hole disease on Prunus laurocerasus caused by Neofusicoccum parvum in Serbia. Forest Pathology 10.1111/efp.12300
Carstensen GD, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, Coutinho TA. (2016) Two Ralstonia species associated with bacterial wilt of Eucalyptus. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12577