South African Pesticide Research

The South African forest industry subscribes to principles associated with sustainable forestry management which incorporates responsible environmental, social and economic management practices.

Of particular importance are those practices that deal with the management of forest growth and silvicultural management. Silvicultural chemicals (synthetic and/or natural products) are used at varying stages of tree development and for different reasons.

Chemical use can broadly be grouped in terms of:

  • Tree protection (pesticides including fungicides; herbicides; insecticides; rodenticides; sterilants; etc.)
  • Enhancing tree growth (fertilisers; growth hormones; innoculants; stimulants etc.)
  • Amelioration or enhancement of a site or environmentally limiting attribute (fertilisers; hydrogels; stress-relievers).

Sustainable forestry practice requires that any chemical used in forestry needs to conform with any environmental, ecological and social constraints. However, as responsible companies, we also need to be active in terms of reducing any off-site and off-target impacts of chemicals used while reducing overall chemical use, retaining productivity and reducing associated costs.

In this respect, the following should be considered:

  • Sector challenges: The need to reduce input costs is directly linked to a reduction in chemical use and/or the finding of alternative solutions. In addition, there is a need to establish a platform for research into the identification and testing of suitably certified products and/or practices for the integrated management of pests and a disease.
  • Sector-specific research, development and innovation (RDI) priorities to address challenges include: Ecosystem management combined with appropriate forest management for growing trees in a sustainable and responsible manner. This research will support and inform policy development in terms of forest certification and the use of chemicals in the value chain.

While obtaining, and subsequently retaining, high levels of responsible governance is important, what we also need to understand is that forest certification only highlights and sets standards regarding chemical use. It does not contribute to solving any issues that result from their use/non-use.

Over the years, much effort has been focused on the process of achieving certification, however less effort has been invested into understanding and finding solutions regarding chemical use where existing standards have been compromised. As a consequence, meeting the goals of certification, while retaining cost-effective, sustainable forestry practices, will remain one of our biggest challenges.

Four research focus areas have been identified where more research, knowledge and understanding is required regarding the more prudent use of pesticides. These include:

  1. Obtaining, collating and analysing chemical-use related data for informed decision making.
  2. International collaboration to solve common global forest chemical issues.
  3. The use and incorporation of past research for the development of integrated management strategies.
  4. The active development of current chemicals where their use is business-critical.
Who's who South African pesticide research

Organisation/AffiliationContact personWebsite addressContact details
Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR)Dr Ilaria
Nelson Mandela University (NMU)Professor Keith

Who's who international pesticide research

CountryOrganisationDesignationContact personWebsite addressContact details
AustraliaUniversity of the Sunshine CoastForest healthSimon Lawson

New ZealandForest Growers ResearchResearch and Development DirectorPaul Adams

New ZealandScionPrinciple scientist forest scienceBrian

New ZealandScionPest management research leaderCarol

New ZealandTimberlandsSustainability ManagerColin Maunder

United KingdomForest ResearchPrincipal SilviculturistIan Willoughby

United States of AmericaBayerRegional stewardship managerHarry Quicke

TIPWG funded research

Dlamini LS, Little KM, Sivparsad B, Nadel. R 2018. Quantifying the impact of foliar insects on two Eucalyptus hybrids in Zululand, South Africa. South African Journal of Plant and Soil.

Thesis E.Siwela – The use of insecticides and cultural control for the management of soil-borne pests during plantation establishment.

Thesis J. Roberts: The development of an integrated herbicide financial risk model for plantation forests in South Africa.

Annex 3 – J. Roberts Thesis

Annex 4 – J. Roberts Thesis

Annex 5 – J. Roberts Thesis

Roberts JC, Little KM, Light ME. 2016. The use of glyphosate for the management of secondary coppice regrowth in a Eucalyptus grandis x E. urophylla coppice stand in Zululand, South Africa. Southern Forests

Roberts JC, Little KM, Light ME. 2017. A comparison of the cost-effectiveness of different Eucalyptus macarthurii cut-stump control management options for the regeneration of a Eucalyptus dunnii stand in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Southern Forests

Roberts JC, Little KM, Light ME. 2017. Interaction between Eucalyptus grandis x E. urophylla coppice reduction heights to single stems and secondary coppice regrowth in Zululand, South Africa. ICFR Technical Note 03/2017

Thesis T.Mavhungu – Optimising herbicide-use for the killing of eucalypt stumps.

Little KM, Nadel R. 2014. Testing pelargonic acid and pyraflufen-ethyl with glyphosate as alternatives to paraquat dichloride for the preparation of fire-break tracer lines at Underberg, South Africa Southern Forests

Little KM, Roberts J. 2017. Desiccant herbicides tested for the preparation of fire-break tracer lines, South Africa. South African Journal of Plant and Soil.

Thesis J.T.Letaoana – The testing of natural and synthetic adjuvants to reduce herbicide-use and/or improve efficacy for the control of difficult-to-kill forest weeds.

Little KM, Payn RG. 2016. Screening of fungicides for the management of wattle rust (Uromycladium acaciae) in Acacia mearnsii plantations, South Africa Southern Forests

Payn RG, Little KM. 2017. Use of adjuvants for the control of in Uromycladium acaciae in Acacia mearnsii plantations, South Africa. South African Journal of Plant and Soil.

Thesis R.G.Payn – Use of fungicides for the management of Uromycladium acaciae in Acacia mearnsii plantations, South Africa