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

Avontuur JR, Palmer M, Beukes CW, Wai YC, Tasiya T, van Zyl E, Coetzee MPA, Stepkowski T, Venter SN, Steenkamp ET. (2022) Bradyrhizobium altum sp. nov., Bradyrhizobium oropedii sp. nov. and Bradyrhizobium acaciae sp. nov. from South Africa show locally restricted and pantropical nodA phylogeographic patterns. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 167 10.1016/j.ympev.2021.107338 PDF
Myriam Solís, Mike Wingfield, Almuth Hammerbacher, Sanushka Naidoo. (2021) Comparison of the infection biology of Teratosphaeria destructans and Teratosphaeria epicoccoides on Eucalyptus. Plant Disease 10.1094/PDIS-09-21-1877-RE
Houbraken J, Visagie CM, Frisvad J. (2021) Recommendations To Prevent Taxonomic Misidentification of Genome-Sequenced Fungal Strains. Microbiology Resource Announcements 10:e0107420. 10.1128/MRA.01074-20
Gevers CR, Slippers B, Germishuizen I, Dittrich-Schröder G, Hurley BP. (2021) The distribution and diversity of Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) and its gall associates in South Africa. Southern Forests 10.2989/20702620.2021.1944395
Aylward J, Wingfield MJ, Roets F, Wingfield BD. (2021) A high-quality fungal genome assembly resolved from a sample accidentally contaminated by multiple taxa. BioTechniques 72 10.2144/btn-2021-0097