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

Zlatkovic M, Wingfield MJ, Jami F, Slippers B. (2019) Genetic uniformity characterizes the invasive spread of Neofusicoccum parvum and Diplodia sapinea in the Western Balkans. Forest Pathology 49:e12491. 10.1111/efp.12491
Fitza KNE, Garnas JR, Lombardero MJ, Ayres MP, Krivak-Tetley FE, Ahumada R, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2019) The global diversity of Deladenus siricidicola in native and non-native populations. Biological Control 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2019.01.014
Pham NQ, Barnes I, Chen SF, Liu FF, Dang NQ, Pham TQ, Lombard L, Crous PW, Wingfield MJ. (2019) Ten new species of Calonectria from Indonesia and Vietnam. Mycologia 10.1080/00275514.2018.1522179 PDF
Nsibo DL, Barnes I, Kunene NT, Berger DK. (2019) Influence of farming practices on the population genetics of the maize pathogen Cercospora zeina in South Africa. Fungal Genetics and Biology 10.1016/j.fgb.2019.01.005
Conlon BH, Aanen DK, Beemelmanns C, De Beer ZW, De Fine Licht HH, Gunde-Cimerman N, Schiøtt M, Poulsen M. (2019) Reviewing the taxonomy of Podaxis: opportunities for understanding extreme fungal lifestyles. Fungal Biology 10.1016/j.funbio.2019.01.001