The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) was established based on a very small team of researchers at the University of the Free State and focused on a single threatening Eucalyptus disease problem. The programme has since grown to become highly recognised internationally as the single strongest programme dealing with pest and pathogen problems in plantation forestry in the world. The TPCP has also brought huge energy to agricultural research and education in the biological sciences in South Africa. For example, it formed the foundation for the establishment of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, which has become a flagship research centre promoting many aspects of plant improvement in South Africa.

The TPCP represents a Co-operative research initiative between the University of Pretoria and all private forestry companies in South Africa. It is also supported by the South African Government Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Other than long and short-term research, the TPCP provides members with extension services, training of forestry students at Universities, access to a world-class disease and pest diagnostic clinic and guidance in dealing with tree pest and pathogen problems. One of the key products of the TPCP is to produce biological control agents for insect pests that damage plantations belonging to members. This work depends on outstanding quarantine green house and related facilities.

The TPCP formed the basis for the establishment of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB). This programme focuses on the health of native South African trees. Given that pests and pathogens are moving from native to non-native plantation trees and vice versa, there is substantial synergy between these two programmes.

New Publications

De Beer ZW. (2018) A tiny beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South Africa’s trees. The Conversation https://bit.ly/2F0J2Ln
Benndorf R, Guo H, Sommerwerk E, Weigel C, Garcia-Altares M, Martin K, Hu H, Küfner M, De Beer ZW, Poulsen M, Beemelmanns C. (2018) Natural products from Actinobacteria associated with fungus-growing termites. Antibiotics 7(3):83. 10.3390/antibiotics7030083 PDF
Fru FF, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2018) High genetic diversity of Fusarium circinatum associated with the first outbreak of pitch canker on Pinus patula in South Africa. Southern Forest: a Journal of Forest Science 10.2989/20702620.2018.1496312
Bose T, Wingfield MJ, Roux J, Vivas M, Burgess TI. (2018) Community composition and distribution of Phytophthora species across adjacent native and non-native forests of South Africa. Fungal Ecology 36:17-25. 10.1016/j.funeco.2018.09.001https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1754504818301740
Nel WJ, Duong TA, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD, Hammerbacher A, De Beer ZW. (2018) Heterothallism revealed in the root rot fungi Berkeleyomyces basicola and B. rouxiae. Fungal Biology 10.1016/j.funbio.2018.08.006