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 in just 16 years 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

Viljoen E, Odeny DA, Coetzee MPA, Berger DK, Rees DJG. (2018) Application of Chloroplast Phylogenomics to Resolve Species Relationships Within the Plant Genus Amaranthus. Journal of Molecular Evolution 10.1007/s00239-018-9837-9
Pham NQ, Barnes I, Chen SF, Pham TQ, Lombard L, Crous PW, Wingfield MJ. (2018) New species of Cylindrocladiella from plantation soils in South-East Asia. MycoKeys 32:1-24. 10.3897/mycokeys.32.23754 PDF
Sex: birds do it, bees do it - and fungi do it too. Here’s how, and why it matters
Nagel J, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2018) Evolution of the mating types and mating strategies in prominent genera in the Botryosphaeriaceae. Fungal Genetics and Biology 10.1016/j.fgb.2018.03.003
Siphathele Sibanda, Stanford Kwenda, Collins K. Tanui, Divine Shyntum, Teresa Coutinho, Lucy Moleleki. (2018) Transcriptome profiling reveals the EanI/R quorum sensing regulon in Pantoea ananatis LMG 2665T. Genes 9(3):148. 10.3390/genes9030148
Wilson A, Van der Nest M, Wilken P, Wingfield M, Wingfield B. (2018) Pheromone expression reveals putative mechanism of unisexuality in a saprobic ascomycete fungus. PLOS One 13(3):e0192517. 10.1371/journal.pone.0192517 PDF
De Beer ZW. (2018) A tiny beetle and its deadly fungus is threatening South Africa’s trees. The Conversation (27 February) PDF
Fourie G, van der Merwe NA, Wingfield BD, Bogale M, Wingfield MJ, Steenkamp ET. (2018) Mitochondrial introgression and interspecies recombination in the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex. IMA Fungus 9(1):37-48. 10.5598/imafungus.2018.09.01.04
Palmer M, Steenkamp ET, Coetzee MPA, Avontuur JR, Chan WY, Van Zyl E, Blom J, Venter SN. (2018) Mixta gen. nov., a new genus in the Erwiniaceae. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 10.1099/ijsem.0.002540
Van Wyk S, Wingfield BD, De Vos L, Santana QC, Van der Merwe N, Steenkamp ET. (2018) Multiple independent origins for a subtelomeric locus associated with growth rate in Fusarium circinatum. IMA Fungus 9(1):27-36. 10.5598/imafungus.2018.09.01.03 PDF