The primary goal of the CTHB is to promote the health of trees native to South Africa through the use of biotechnology. To accomplish this, CTHB projects typically consider the pathogens and pests that are associated with native trees and woody hosts. The CTHB also explores the possible effects that factors such as climate change, society, natural forest health and plant genetics may have on the health of native woody resources and ecosystems.
The CTHB is hosted by the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria. Within FABI it is intimately linked to the Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP), a research programme that has a track record of more than two decades in dealing with the pests and diseases of commercially important forestry species.
The CTHB is structured as a virtual Centre of Excellence that conducts scientific research via a collaborative network, with the node of the network represented by researchers at UP. In addition to the UP group, this network involves researchers and their postgraduate students from other Higher Education Institutions in South Africa. These institutions include the Agricultural Research Council, University of Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand, University of the Free State and Rhodes University.