Tree pests and diseases pose the biggest threat to timber plantation productivity. Controlling pests and diseases in over a million hectares of plantations is no small task, and every year in South Africa, the Industry spends tens of millions of Rands on pest and disease control.
Bacteria, fungi, insects, parasites, weeds and animals can all become pests. Uncontrolled, their influence disrupts how well a tree grows, damaging or even killing the tree. This in turn can reduce the value of tree when it is harvested.
Insects seem to have a far more devastating impact than any other. Thanks to a suite of options, ranging from changing the tree species to a host of biological and pesticide control methods, managing pest species in South Africa’s timber plantations has not only improved, it’s now also done in ways that minimises unintentional environmental and social impacts.
With legislation becoming ever more stringent, pest and disease management options need to be increasingly more effective as well as pest- or disease-specific. To this end, partnerships with academic institutions have become one of the most exciting aspects of forestry. Together, we are constantly improving our understanding of pests and diseases, while developing new approaches to manage them.
Click here: Tree health infographic