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

Bose T, Dovey S, Brachmann A, Witfeld F, Begerow D, Kemler M, Roux J, Slippers B, Vivas M, Wingfield MJ. (2023) Retention of post-harvest residues enhances soil fungal biodiversity in Eucalyptus plantations. Forest Ecology and Management 532:120806. 10.1016/j.foreco.2023.120806
David Read, Bernard Slippers, Emma Steenkamp. (2022) Genomic characterization of a novel potyvirus infecting Barleria repens in South Africa. Archives of Virology 10.1007/s00705-022-05662-w
Bian C, Takashi H, Houbraken J, Visagie CM, Ban S, Yaguchi T, D'hooge E, Sklenár F, Kusuya Y, Hubka V. (2022) Reducing the number of accepted species in Aspergillus series Nigri. Studies in Mycology 102:95–132. 10.3114/sim.2022.102.03
Wanjofu EI, Venter SN, Beukes CW, Steenkamp ET, Gwata ET, Muema EK. (2022) Nodulation and Growth Promotion of Chickpea by Mesorhizobium Isolates from Diverse Sources. MDPI-Microorganisms 10(12):1-16.
Osborn RK, Castro J, Duong TA, Hulcr J, Li Y, Martínez M, Cognato AI. (2022) Symbiotic Fungi Associated With Xyleborine Ambrosia Beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) and the Imperative of Global Collaboration. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 10.1093/aesa/saac024