FABI researchers work with Sappi in KwaZulu-Natal 2021-03-03
FABI team members including Prof. Mike Wingfield, Prof. Irene Barnes, Prof. Brenda Wingfield, Dr Trudy Paap and Ms Kira Lynn visited various Sappi holdings in KwaZulu-Natal during the week of 22 February. During this visit, they were accompanied by Prof. Jolanda Roux, Sappi Programme Leader: Pests and Diseases, and extraordinary University of Pretoria staff member linked to FABI. One of the aims of the visit was to conduct a preliminary trial to determine whether the emerging Ceratocystis wilt disease in KwaZulu-Natal plantations would have an effect on the capacity of forestry companies to coppice Eucalyptus in the future. This work involved felling established trees and treating coppice stumps with the pathogen together with appropriate controls. Results will be read regularly over a one year period after which additional inoculations will be made. The visit also provided the opportunity for the team to inspect a number of emerging disease problems in the area It was further possible using a mobile phone connection for the group to participate in and enjoy the excellent seminar “Drivers and brakes of pathogen emergence” by Prof. Daniel Croll of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland,presented on 25 February as part of the FABI International Seminar Series.