The Forest Invasive Species Network for Africa (FISNA) was established under the auspices of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations with the objective to coordinate and facilitate the collation and exchange of information regarding invasive forest species in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, FISNA is coordinated by Prof. Brett Hurley with substantial support from Dr Mesfin Gossa, a postdoctoral Fellow at FABI. As part of FISNA’s objectives, FABI, in collaboration with FISNA, co-hosted a webinar on forest invasive species in Africa on 14 March. This forms the first in a series of four webinars planned for 2023, to provide information on the status of forest invasive species in the continent and facilitate collaboration towards their prevention, monitoring, early detection and management. 

A diverse range of talks on forest invasive species, including insects, pathogens and weeds and some general forest health issues were presented and discussed by invited guests and FISNA members from different countries. The webinar started with an overview of FAO forest health activities presented by Dr Shiroma Sathyapala, FAO Forestry Officer. The state of forestry and forest health in Benin, including the problem caused by invasive species was presented by Prof. Christine Ouinsavi from the University of Parakou, Benin. Dr Revocatus Mushumbusi, the Director General of Tanzania Forest Research Institute (TAFORI) presented an overview of forestry in Tanzania and the status of invasive woody weeds in the country. Similarly, Miriam Gathogo from Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) presented on forestry in Kenya and invasion by dodder weed and its management. Siphephelo Phungula from the University of Pretoria and SAPPI gave an update on the newly discovered Eucalyptus scab and malformation disease in South Africa. Other talks included the harmonization of biopesticide regulation in the SADC region by Karen Hope from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), South Africa; biological control of forest insect pests by Prof. Hurley, and transport vectors and pathways by Dr Donald Chungu from Cavendish University, Zambia.

For further information about FISNA, please visit the FISNA website. And if you are interested to join the FISNA WhatsApp Group and Discussion Group (DGroup), contact Dr Mesfin Gossa at