The ICFR provides research capability to various funding consortia in two key areas; sustainable production and tree improvement.
The need to balance the benefits from a forest products sector in South Africa based on wood supplied from plantations with the wider water needs of the country means the plantation resource is now on a finite and fixed land area with between the second and tenth crop being produced from most plantations. The challenge is that, with each new crop, management practices must adjust to ensure sustainable production. This means reducing the risks associated with pests and pathogens, adapting to climate change and the impact this will have on both biotic and abiotic risks (such as drought) and maintaining soil production resilience.
The sustainable production research focus at the ICFR serves to meet these challenges and is currently working on the following projects:
Having access to planting stock that is tolerant of key pests and pathogens and can deal with the drought, frost and snow events is obviously important in achieving sustainable productions. As importantly, planting choice also determines market access and yield levels achieved. For these reasons tree improvement remains a major focus for research and the ICFR continues to contribute to the improvement of wattle and eucalypt planting stock.
Current tree improvement projects are as follows: