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

Musvuugwa T, De Beer ZW, Dreyer LL, Duong T, Marincowitz S, Oberlander KC, Roets F. (2020) New ophiostomatoid fungi from wounds on storm-damaged trees in Afromontane forests of the Cape Floristic Region. Mycological Progress 19(1):81-95. 10.1007/s11557-019-01545-8
Nagel J, Cruywagen EM, Machua J, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2020) Highly transferable microsatellite markers for the genera Lasiodiplodia and Neofusicoccum. Fungal Ecology 44:100903. 10.1016/j.funeco.2019.100903
Rauf MRBA, McTaggart AR, Marincowitz S, Barnes I, Japarundin Y, Wingfield MJ. (2020) Pathogenicity of Chrysoporthe deuterocubensis and Myrtoporthe bodenii gen. et sp. nov. on Eucalyptus in Sabah, Malaysia. Plant Pathology 49(1):53-64. 10.1007/s13313-019-00676-6
Guo Y, Hunziker L, Mesarich CH, Chettri P, Dupont PY, Ganley RJ, McDougal RL, Barnes I, Bradshaw RE. (2020) DsEcp2-1 is a polymorphic effector that restricts growth of Dothistroma septosporum in pine. Fungal Genetics and Biology 135:103300. 10.1016/j.fgb.2019.103300
Aylward J, Havenga M, Dreyer LL, Roets F, Wingfield BD, Wingfield MJ. (2020) Genomic characterization of mating type loci and mating type distribution in two apparently asexual plantation tree pathogens. Plant Pathology 69:28-37. 10.1111/ppa.13094 PDF