From 3-5 November, participants from Government research institutes and universities gathered at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Campus, for a Forest Invasive Species Network for Africa (FISNA) workshop on the implementation of classical biological control to manage insect pests in plantation forests. 

FISNA is one of the regional networks facilitated by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The network aims to “coordinate the collation and dissemination of information relating to forest invasive species in sub-Saharan Africa for sustainable forest management and conservation of biodiversity”. The workshop was organized by the current Coordinator of FISNA, Prof. Brett Hurley, together with Ms. Samantha Bush and a great FABI Team!

The workshop followed the recent FAO “Guide to the classical biological control of insect pests in planted and natural forests” and included lively discussion and practical sessions. The participants for the workshop were funded by FAO and included 23 delegates from 14 different African countries. This is in addition to the FABI staff and students involved in the workshop, as well as Dr Marc Kenis (CABI, Switzerland), Prof. Jeremy Allison (Natural Resources Canada) and Dr Shiroma Sathyapala (FAO, Rome), who contributed to the discussion sessions.

The workshop was successful in providing training, sharing information and building capacity towards implementing biological control – a key strategy in responding to invasive forest insect pests on the continent.