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

van der Nest A, Wingfield MJ, Ortiz PC, Barnes I. (2019) Biodiversity of Lecanosticta pine-needle blight pathogens suggests a Mesoamerican Centre of origin.. IMA Fungus 1:2 10.1186/s43008-019-0004-8
Beukes CW, Boshoff FS, Phalane FL, Hassen AI, le Roux MM, Stępkowski T, Venter SN, Steenkamp ET. (2019) Both alpha- and beta-rhizobia occupy the root nodules of Vachellia karroo in South Africa. 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01195 PDF
Ioos R, Aloi F, Piskur B, Guinet C, Mullet M, Berbegal M, Braganca H, Cacciola SO, Oskay F, Cornejo C, Adamson K, Douanla-Meli C, Kacergius A, Martinez-Alvarez P, Nowakowska JA, Luchi N, Vettraino AM, Ahumada R, Pasquali M, Fourie G, Kanetis L, Alves A, Ghelardini L, Dvorak M, Sanz-Ros A, Diez JJ, Baskarathevan J, Aguayo J. (2019) Transferability of PCR-based diagnostic protocols: An international collaborative case study assessing protocols targeting the quarantine pine pathogen Fusarium circinatum. Scientific Reports 10.1038/s41598-019-44672-8
Beukes CW, Sereme TK, Phalane FL, Mthombeni LS, Palmer M, Hassen AI, Chan WY, Avontuur J, van Zyl E, Steenkamp ET, Venter SN. (2019) Paraburkholderia strydomiana sp. nov. and Paraburkholderia steynii sp. nov.: rhizobial symbionts of the fynbos legume Hypocalyptus sophoroides. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-019-01269-5
Wilson AM, van der Nest MA, Wilken PM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2019) It’s All in the Genes: The Regulatory Pathways of Sexual Reproduction in Filamentous Ascomycetes. Genes 10(5):330. 10.3390/genes10050330