FABI celebrates 20 years of tree health research excellence
THE Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria (UP) turns 20 in 2018.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Cheryl de la Rey welcomed the audience of FABI staff, students, alumni and a host of international researchers and academics who accepted the invitation to celebrate FABI’s milestone.
Former UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Johan van Zyl, explained his role and vision in ensuring that FABI found a home at UP.
Prof Mike Wingfield, founder and former Director of FABI, spoke on the challenges and achievements of FABI over the course of its history and how it had contributed to research excellence, diversity, and its sustainability.
FABI is a unique research institute that is a collaborative space which began with a broad mandate to be a stand-alone post-graduate structure that focused on forestry and agricultural biotechnology.
FABI’s research output touches on facets that affect many aspects of daily life, for example, paper, food security, tree health and tree life.
FABI’s initial research programme focused specifically on tree health, and the forestry industry was a major stakeholder in establishing FABI.
Inter-disciplinary research has been at the core of FABI’s success.
The research conducted by FABI has been crucial in finding integrated solutions to pest and disease management to ensure tree health.
The Sirex Woodwasp problem affecting pine trees in South Africa is one such example of FABI’s research rescuing an industry and the jobs forestry supports.
FABI is home to one of the first six DST-NRF Centres of Excellence for Tree Health Biotechnology.
In 2017, FABI’s long term research and achievements saw UP awarded a spot in the top two universities in the world for the study fungi (mycology).
‘FABI has achieved a very obvious national and international footprint as well as recognition for research and educational excellence,’ says Prof Mike Wingfield.
Prof Mike Wing eld, the founder and director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute