FABI researchers Dr Trudy Paap and Dr Felipe Balocchi recently joined members of SANBI’s Horticultural Enrichment Forum (HEF) to host a Biosecurity best practice workshop at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (NBG). Since 2016, FABI researchers have been engaging with SANBI NBGs through the Sentinel Plant Project, to improve knowledge of plant health threats. Recently, the team have worked together to develop a guide to biosecurity best practice for living plant collections in South Africa, with the aim of assisting in protecting the country’s plants from the introduction and spread of harmful organisms.

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s Chief Scientist and Director of Research, Dr Brett Summerell, joined the team for the two day workshop (25-26 October), which was attended by staff from seven SANBI NBGs. Participants included Garden managers, Estate managers, Horticulturists, Interpretation officers, interns and scholars. The group received an overview of pest and pathogen issues detected in the SANBI NBGs, as well as a series of presentations detailing aspects of biosecurity including pathways of pest introduction and spread, garden and nursery cultural best practices, quarantine procedures and integrated pest management. Throughout the workshop, garden and nursery walkthroughs encouraged further engagement and discussion among the participants.

The workshop is the first in a series of activities to promote the uptake of the biosecurity best practice among SANBI NBG staff. We thank the International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) for supporting Dr Brett Summerell’s travel.