South Africa’s natural forests, grasslands, wetlands and fynbos ecosystems are complex and teeming with life, which includes potential pest species, diseases and other damage-causing animals. While they are integral components of our natural ecosystems, they can have a considerable impact on the health of our timber plantations when numbers exceed natural levels.
Insects, diseases and damage-causing animals, along with a host of abiotic factors, like wind, frost, hail and fire, can all adversely affect the health and productivity of a tree. This is manifested in poor growth, low survival rates, reduced yield and poor wood quality.
As a result, timber plantations need to be monitored and managed to ensure risks from pests and diseases are reduced and the impact of any disturbance caused by pests and diseases are minimal. Management, however, needs to consider the delicate balance of the timber plantation requirements with any surrounding natural ecosystems and avoid, where possible, any disturbance.
Working alongside scientists from various academic institutions and private research facilities, we have been able to make huge advances in the way we monitor and manage our timber plantations, ensuring any management practices used for the control of pests and diseases are efficient, effective and have minimal environmental and social impact. By doing this, we are creating a management legacy and philosophy that we are proud of.