Forestry South Africa has been contracted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to implement the National Forestry Sector Research and Development Strategy and the Integrated National Forest Protection Strategy as they relate to pests and diseases threatening the forestry sector.

The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) based at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), at the University of Pretoria is the main provider of research, development and service support to the South African forestry industry, government and civil society for tree and forest health related matters. This is done in an integrated manner with the work of the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology (CPHB) at UP, and in collaboration with other national institutes (chiefly the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR) in Pietermaritzburg, but also Stellenbosch University, Rhodes University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of the Witwatersrand and others) and international research partners and organizations. These programs also collaborate with other service providers for key services related to implementation of pest management programs, and in particular for the surveillance component of the program with CropWatch Africa.

These networks and programs have been developed over the course of 33 years, chiefly with industry funding, but with substantial investment from government bodies, the University, and national and international research-funding bodies. With the recent conclusion of the contract between DFFE and FSA, this foundation can be mobilized to rapidly give momentum to the development and implementation of an integrated national forest protection program, including diagnostics, field extension, communication, goal oriented research, data systems, and more.

The main objectives and deliverables linked to the contract include:  

  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Awareness programs
  • Provision of pest and pathogen services to all growers
  • Provision of diagnostic services in line with the integrated pest and disease strategy
  • Conduct research on pests to mitigate impact on the forestry sector

The Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment and Forestry South Africa are thanked for negotiating these agreements and funding. The program is set to make a major impact on the national ability to ensure forest protection, productivity, profitability and sustainability.