Forestry in South Africa
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August : PSHB in the media

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27 August, 2019

PSHB in the media


You might have seen the following and similar articles in the news or on social media:
Finally: A solution to get rid of the beetle that is killing SA's trees

A more accurate representation of our views are presented in the TimesLive article:
No magic cure to stop the beetle that's mercilessly killing trees across SA

We are DEEPLY concerned about this. The message in this article is not only inaccurate, but also misleading. FABI and other academics who are part of the PSHB Research Network are quoted in the article in a misleading way. We had nothing to do with the registration of the product. This company approached us last year to support their registration application, but did not do so as they did not want to share all information with us, and what we saw really was amateurish and completely lacked scientific merit.

It is VERY CONCERNING that they found a way to register this product that allows them to promote it in this way (as a magic solution) to an anxious community concerned about this crisis. It is irresponsible of the company to make such claims without demonstrating the efficacy of the treatment in proper trials. The exaggerated media attention has the potential to hurt our credibility internationally amongst knowledgeable practitioners and regulators, as well as other efforts to do research and manage the situation. 

False claims of silver bullets are off course not new, and have also affected forestry companies in the past. It would be worth looking out for it in this case too. The national crisis has attracted the attention of a number of people who offer easy solutions. In the meantime, our research continues (currently funded via agriculture and awaiting government promised funding) for monitoring, host range and ecology (which is critical to its management, including inoculations on forestry hosts), understanding diversity and connections between local and global populations, and preparing for biological control work.

More detail about the PSHB can be found here and more information about current research projects on PSHB here.

Best wishes

Wilhelm de Beer

Source: FABI