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Forest Protection 

Dr Benice Sivparsad

Dr Benice Sivparsad

Senior Scientist: Forest Protection

ICFR’s Forest Protection platform provides capacity, skills and expertise in forest protection related to monitoring and management of tree pests and diseases and impact assessment.  Key areas are field trial and survey-based research methodologies to quantify the impact of pests and pathogens on tree growth and yield; biotic damage impact evaluation and management based on integrated management principles; testing, development and uptake of new natural, synthetic, and biological insecticides and fungicides for effective and sustainable management of pests and diseases within the IPM framework; and systems development and implementation of forest health monitoring.

The current research project focus is on eucalypts and the Eucalyptus snout beetle (Gonipterus sp.n.2), currently the most prominent eucalypt canopy pest, with the objective of quantifying the impact of varying levels of canopy damage on growth of eucalypts; and to develop an “early warning sign system” for proactive intervention based on simple metrics related to the life stages of the pest. The long-term nature of these trials has sparked several collaborative projects, with the trials used as a study site for Gonipterus research projects based at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). Information gained from these trials will provide quantitative estimates of yield loss and a simple early detection protocol that will facilitate effective integrated pest management of the Eucalyptus snout beetle.

The forest protection research provides recommendations based on integrated pest management principles that can be applied to maintain plantations in a healthy and productive condition. Key is the evaluation of the relationship between levels of damage and the resulting losses in productivity, and optimisation of measures of intervention in terms of type, timing, and method. It has strong collaboration and is complementary to the role of Tree Protection Cooperative Programme in forest protection for the commercial forestry industry in South Africa.