The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB), Euwallacea fornicatus, is one of the most damaging tree pests ever to arrive in South Africa. While the impacts of this beetle will be experienced across various sectors, the biggest impacts and costs are associated with the loss of trees in the urban environment. There is particular concern about the impact PSHB will have on Johannesburg’s urban forest. Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) have engaged FABI in a project to generate and provide scientific data on the PHSB outbreak in the City.

On 29 June, FABI Research Fellow Dr Trudy Paap and Extension Officer Shawn Fell joined JCPZ staff at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens to conduct a training session on PSHB monitoring. Cropwatch Africa has developed a PSHB monitoring project on the Biosecurity Africa mobile application platform. JCPZ staff will now be able to use the app to track the spread and impact of PSHB in the City. The app ensures consistency in data collection, and is already being used to monitor PSHB outbreaks in Pretoria and the Western Cape. Having all the data in a centralised platform provides a powerful tool, enabling data to be analysed for research or shared with key stakeholders.