Research Focus




Forestry Research Analytical Laboratory

Dr Danvir Ramesar

Dr Danvir Ramesar

Scientist: Analytical Laboratory

ICFR’s Forestry Research Analytical Laboratory provides specialised analyses and laboratory-based research and development in support of ICFR projects, Forestry South Africa (FSA) member’s research, industry initiatives and academic partners across the country.

The facility maintains an archive of forestry soils and plant material for future study or reference, and the specialist resources play an important role in capacity building and skills development for the analytical and research laboratory environment, through supervision and mentoring of post-graduate student projects and interns. High quality data is provided to the research projects and growers, looking beyond routine soil and plant analysis to develop specialized methods to meet research and specific management requirements.

The laboratory houses high-end instruments like the Agilent Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES) for chemical analysis of soil extracts or plant digests, a Leco Trumac CNS elemental analyser for the determination of soil, foliar or other forestry product percentages of carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur. The laboratory has a strong focus on the development of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) for rapid, non-destructive, and low-cost analysis of forestry and associated sector soils, materials, and products. Novel NIRS applications that are being developed include seed and seedling analysis, seedling identification for varietal purity testing, and wattle bark tannin analysis, as well as soil properties such as soil organic carbon and soil texture. The laboratory is using this expertise to transfer such applications to portable devices for researchers and technicians in the field or in nurseries.

This platform, established at the ICFR with FSA funding continues to grow in applied research providing real returns for the forestry industry in South Africa.