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

Beukes CW, Venter SN, Steenkamp ET. (2021) The history and distribution of nodulating Paraburkholderia, a potential inoculum for Fynbos forage species. Grass and Forage Science 76:10-32. 10.1111/gfs.12522
Liu LL, Wu WX, Chen SF. (2021) Species diversity and distribution characteristics of Calonectria in five soil layers in a Eucalyptus plantation. Journal of Fungi 7:857. 10.3390/jof7100857 PDF
Chang R-L, Zhang X, Hongli S, Zhao G, Yuan X, Liu T, Bose T, Dai M. (2021) Ophiostomatoid species associated with pine trees (Pinus spp.) infested by Cryphalus piceae from eastern China, including five new species. Mycokeys 83:181-208. 10.3897/mycokeys.83.70925
Duong AT, Aylward J, Ametrano CG, Poudel E, Santana QC, Wilken PM, Martin A, Arun-Chinnappa KS, De Vos L, DiStefano I, Grewe F, Huhndorf S, Lumbsch HT, Rakoma JR, Steenkamp ET, Sun Y, van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, Yilmaz N, Wingfield BD. (2021) Draft genome assembly of Fusarium pilosicola, Meredithiella fracta, Niebla homalea, Pyrenophora teres hybrid WAC10721, and Teratosphaeria viscida. IMA Fungus 12(1):30. 10.1186/s43008-021-00077-9
Human ZR, Roets F, Crous CJ, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW, Venter SN. (2021) Fire impacts bacterial composition in Protea repens (Proteaceae) infructescences. FEMS Microbiology Letters 10.1093/femsle/fnab132