University of Pretoria - Research Review
University of Pretoria - Research Review
Theme 4 - Resources

Theme 4 Resources

Cross-section of a tree, showing growth rings

Trees and, in particular, the health of planted forests, define much of the research profiled under this theme. There has been a dramatic reduction in trees due to environmental change and disease, with an estimated 15 billion trees lost globally in a year. One focus is on the impact of tree-infecting fungal pathogens and insect pests, and the need for a global strategy that would involve greater and more effective understanding, surveillance and control of key pests. At the same time, wood from plantations is a renewable feedstock for bioproducts and for several forms of bioenergy. Understanding the genetic makeup of wood, and how wood forms, are therefore research foci of great relevance. Research profiled also includes a focus on rural livelihoods and forest ecosystems, and on food security. Moving away from trees, the final focus is on bulk and nano-carbon materials and technologies research to meet future energy demands.