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July : Recent Leptocybe Workshop at the ICFR

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5 July, 2013

Recent Leptocybe Workshop at the ICFR - Institute for Commercial Forestry Research

The ICFR recently hosted a workshop to discuss industry-wide operational and research approaches to manage Leptocybe invasa, the Blue Gum Chalcid wasp in South Africa. Leptocybe invasa has become one of the most serious eucalypt pests in South Africa, infesting a range of commercially grown Eucalyptus species and hybrid clones. The recent release of the biological control agent Selitrichodes neseri which is being managed by staff at FABI at the University of Pretoria, is expected to effectively assist in the management of L. invasa, based on its performance under quarantine conditions.

Until such time as S. neseri becomes established in field, the Industry realised it was critical to assess and evaluate all current management and research approaches being conducted and tested across the industry, in an attempt to minimise the threat of L. invasa, while at the same time not compromising the survival and/or effectiveness of the biological control agent.

The workshop was attended by a large number of representatives from forestry companies across the country with delegates coming from the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces as well as KwaZulu-Natal.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Increase awareness and knowledge around the pest as well as understand the issues and concerns;
  • Sharing and consolidation of information on actions being undertaken at both research and operational levels; and
  • Develop a plan to guide future action and activities.

Excellent presentations were given by a number of speakers representing those companies and organisations actively involved in managing Leptocybe, and covered both problems and issues as well as some of the solutions being developed. In the ensuing discussion it was clear that biological control was currently the best option for controlling L. invasa and that it was important to support the process to ensure the S. neseri is deployed as effectively as possible. Participants were mindful that there are "no silver bullets" with regard to controlling L. invasa and that there is a need for an integrative collaborative approach amongst all stakeholders in order to address the challenges brought about by this pest.

It was agreed that a plan of action is required for an industry-level approach to managing L . invasa, and a working group led by the ICFR and FABI, has been formed to produce a plan to address various objectives that were raised at the workshop.

For further information on this, please contact Dr Ryan Nadel at the ICFR (ryan.nadel@icfr.ukzn.ac.za), or at TPCP, Professor Jolanda Roux (Jolanda.roux@up.ac.za) or Dr Brett Hurley (brett.hurley@up.ac.za).

Sally J Upfold, Knowledge Manager
Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR)
UKZN Campus, Carbis Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg
P O Box 100281, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
Tel:  033 - 3862314,
Fax:  033 - 3868905
Cell: 082 570 0851
E-mail: sally.upfold@icfr.ukzn.ac.za
Website:  www.icfr.ukzn.ac.za  


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