The journal Science this week published a special issue focusing on forest health in a changing world, to which three authors of FABI contributed. The review article by Profs Mike Wingfield, Bernard Slippers and Brenda Wingfield, from the Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP) and DST-NRF Centre of Excellence  in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) in FABI, in collaboration with Dr Eckehard Brockerhoff, Principal Scientist at Scion in New Zealand, highlights the need for a global strategy to protect planted forests.

The paper draws from decades of research experience of the authors on pest and disease problems of plantation forestry, contextualized against a backdrop of increasing globalisation, international trade, and changing climate patterns. They argue that it is important for South Africa, as is true for all countries, to maintain strong international networks to address the biosecurity challenge collectively. And importantly to establish science partnerships to assist countries that may not have the resources or expertise to implement biosecurity measures.

FABI at the University of Pretoria hosts the single largest team of scientists working on tree health problems in the world. Through their strong partnership with and years of support from government and industry in South Africa, this remarkable team is well positioned to lead efforts to keep forests healthy locally, and globally.

Attached to this news item is a full PRESS RELEASE that accompanied the online publication of the paper. The paper is available to subscribers of Science online, or a pdf can alternatively can be requested from

Wingfield MJ, Brockerhoff EG, Wingfield BD, Slippers B (2015). Planted forest health: The need for a global strategy. Science 349: 832-836. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac6674

An introduction to the special issue of Science and the other review papers is available here.