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

Chang J, Duong TA, Schoeman C, Ma X, Roodt D, Barker N, Li Z, Van de Peer V, Mizrachi E. (2022) The Genome of the King Protea, Protea cynaroides. The Plant Journal 10.1111/tpj.16044
Wingfield BD, Berger DK, Coetzee MPA, Duong TA, Martin A, Pham NQ, Van den Berg N, Wilken PM, Arun-Chinnappa KS, Barnes I, Buthelezi S, Dahanayaka BA, Durán A, Engelbrecht J, Feurtey A, Fourie A, Fourie G, Hartley J, Kabwe ENK, Maphosa M, Narh Mensah DL, Nsibo DL, Potgieter L, Poudel B, Stukenbrock EH, Thomas C, Vaghefi N, Welgemoed T, Wingfield MJ. (2022) IMA genome‑F17. 13:19. 10.1186/s43008-022-00104-3
Candotti J, Christie N, Ployet R, Mostert-O’Neill MM, Reynolds SM, Neves LG, Naidoo S, Mizrachi E, Duong TA, Myburg AA. (2022) Haplotype mining panel for genetic dissection and breeding in Eucalyptus. The Plant Journal 10.1111/tpj.16026
Swalarsk Parry BS, Steenkamp ET, Van Wyk S, Santana QC, van der Nest MA, Hammerbacher A, Wingfield BD, De Vos L. (2022) Identification and characterization of a QTL for growth of Fusarium circinatum on pine-based medium. Journal of Fungi 8(11):1214. 10.3390/jof8111214
Narh Mensah D, Wingfield B, Coetzee MPAC. (2022) Nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene clusters and characteristics of predicted NRPS-dependent siderophore synthetases in Armillaria and other species in the Physalacriaceae. Current Genetics 10.1007/s00294-022-01256-w