FABI Director Professor Bernard Slippers and FABI founding Director and current IUFRO President Prof Mike Wingfield were amongst the numerous speakers who addressed the theme “Forests and Education” at a symposium celebrating the International Day of Forests held at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Campus on 18 March. The International Day of Forests celebration was organised by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in partnership with the African Union (AU) Commission. Professor Bernard Slippers spoke passionately on the new Future Africa Campus and its role in facilitating collaboration between academics from across the globe but specifically from the African continent. He also highlighted FABI’s achievements in promoting and ensuring forest health and supporting the local commercial forestry industry to limit the impact of pests and diseases. Professor Wingfield spoke about forest health and the importance of IUFRO. Addressing the theme of Forests and Education, Mike spoke about the partnership between IUFRO and the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) that nurtures the future forest researchers. Presentations were also made by representatives of the WWF, IFSA, DAFF, SANBI, Forestry South Africa and academic institutions including Fort Cox, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, UNISA, University of Venda, University of Pretoria and Stellenbosch University. Earlier in the day the Minister of Environmental Affairs planted a tree to mark the event.
A team of about 30 students spent the morning on 21 March replanting 1,600 cuttings into potting bags at the FABI nursery on the University of Pretoria’s experimental farm.
FABI hosted a delegation of officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), academics and forestry students on 19 March.
FABI PhD student speaks about his prize-winning science communication video and tree health matters in interview with VOC FM
FABI PhD candidate Darryl Herron cast the spotlight on tree health matters during an interview with VOC FM, a community radio station based in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, on 14 March.
Eight Fabians attended the Fungal Genetics meeting in Asilomar, California during March 2019.
In the week of 4 March, the TPCP had three different field trips to the KwaZulu-Natal, Midlands.
Thirteen undergraduate students will get their first taste of life as researchers as mentees in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology’s undergraduate mentorship programme.
Professor Steven Chown of the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University in Australia visited FABI on the 27 February to engage with academic colleagues and students.
Professor Mike Wingfield spent three days in Gainsville, Florida during the week of the 18 February. This short visit was in part to participate in a workshop seeking to promote forest health research in the southeastern United States.
From 17-19 February, some members of the Ceratocystis team, Dr Irene Barnes, and TPCP students and Postdocs, Arista Fourie, Dr FeiFei Liu and Granny Hlongwane, went on a field trip to Kwambonambi, KwaZulu-Natal to observe the Ceratocystis infection on Eucalyptus hybrid clones in the plantations.
During the past week, Prof. Wilhelm de Beer of FABI and Prof. Francois Roets from Stellenbosch University, visited the southern Cape to launch two research projects on the impact of the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) on native trees in the area.
FABI welcomed a student delegation from the Tsinghua University in Beijing on 20 February.
During January a group of FABIans participated in the 45th Conference of the South African Association of Botanists (SAAB) which was held in conjunction with the Southern African Society for Systematics and Biosystematics (SASSB) and the African Mycological Association (AMA) on the campus of the University of Johannesburg.
University of Pretoria Extra-ordinary Professor ShuaiFei Chen made a 10-day visit to FABI during February.
The French Embassy organised a meeting of French academics working in South Africa on 8 February. This meeting aimed to connect French researchers from various fields and promote the expertise and innovation between the two countries.
FABI is pleased to announce that Dr Trudy Paap has been appointed with effect from February to manage the field extension services of the Tree Protection Co-operative programme (TPCP), as well as to support the development of a national pest and disease monitoring and management system that links TPCP, Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR), Industry and Government resources.
FeiFei Liu successfully defended her PhD thesis on 29 January, becoming the second FABIan this year to earn the title “Dr”. This after she presented her prestige seminar, titled “Species diversity and host associations of plant pathogenic Ceratocystis species in China”.
FABI postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Tanay Bose and MSc student Ms. Modjadji Makwela presented their research at theWild Orchids Southern Africa (WOSA) Conference.
Elrea Strydom fulfilled all the requirements for a PhD degree after successfully defending her thesis on 28 January. She became the first FABIan in 2019 to achieve this accolade.
The 2019 meeting of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP) took place on the West Coast, hosted by Stellenbosch University.
In a first step towards understanding this problem, FABI Prof. Mike Wingfield undertook a preliminary survey of Eucalyptus trees in the greater Stellenbosch area, assisted by Dr. Mike Allsopp of the Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute.
Late in 2018, 14 FABIans banded together for the mammoth task of inoculating and disease assessment of 6,360 Pinus patula seedlings with 159 Fusarium circinatum isolates.
Members of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme(TPCP) met at the Future Africa campus on 17 January for a briefing on developments affecting the management and work done in the programme in 2019.
The excitement was palpable as FABI Director Professor Bernard Slippers welcomed staff and students to their first gathering in the Institute for 2019.
The University of Pretoria (UP) has appointed FABI founding-Director Prof Mike Wingfield as Advisor to the Executive, reporting to Vice-Principal for Institutional Planning Prof Anton Ströh.
This year, 10 young women researchers, including FABI PhD candidate Andi Wilson - chosen from more than 500 applicants - were awarded Andi Wilson awarded FWIS Doctoral Fellowships, while a further two were awarded FWIS Postdoctoral Fellowships.
A group of scientists from South Africa and the USA met at the University of Florida (UF), Gainesville, as part of a collaborative network that is jointly funded by the NRF and NSF.
The invasion of the tree-killing Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) in South Africa has gained wide attention in the printed and digital media over the past few months, not only in South Africa, but also abroad.
During the last week of November, a team of scientists from FABI under the leadership of Prof. Wilhelm de Beer hosted the first workshop in Africa specifically focused on the invasion of the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB).
The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) celebrated the first publication of a paper in an ISI-rated scientific journal by a postgraduate student from the work of either their PhD or MSc at a party on 26 November.
FABI Director Professor Bernard Slippers has joined Prof Mike Wingfield and Prof Pedro Crous on the list of highly cited researchers in the field of Plant and Animal Sciences for 2018.
The University of Pretoria had a University-wide (staff and students) photographic competition with the topic of "Community Engagement”.
Runlei Chang delivered the last prestige seminar of the year at FABI on 3 December, bringing the number of PhD theses completed at the Institute in 2018 to 13.
During a recent visit to Indonesia, a group of staff members and students of FABI were presented with a painting as a gift to FABI from Mr Rob Pallet, a previous member of the Board of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and now on the staff of the APRIL Forestry Group.
On Saturday 10 November, Dr Fahimeh Jami (Postdoctoral Fellow), Kira Lynn (M.Sc. student) and Nam Pham (Ph.D. student), returned to South Africa after spending almost two months in Sumatra.
Five biologists from the Universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and the Free State including Prof Mike Wingfield of FABI, recently undertook a broadly-based mycological foray in the natural forests of the southern Cape.