Forestry in South Africa
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January : New Staff at the ICFR

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31 January, 2017

New Staff at the ICFR

Richard Burgdorf ICFR Staff Benice Sivparsad ICFR Staff

Two new staff members have recently joined the ICFR team. Benice Sivparsad started at the ICFR on 1 September 2016, as a Senior Research Scientist in Forest Protection research. Benice will be working on existing Forest Protection projects with a specific focus on Eucalypt pests and pathogens.

Benice has a PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg). Prior to starting at the ICFR, Benice was working on her Postdoc on research and development of biocontrol agents against major pathogenic fungi.

Asked about her new role at the ICFR, Benice said "I am excited and enthusiastic to be involved in dynamic research that finds solutions to those factors that threaten the forestry industry". She is interested in developing integrated pest management strategies aimed at minimising risk to tree plantations from pests and pathogens.

Benice has already been meeting with peers from ICFR member companies, and learning about current pests and pathogens impacting the South African forestry industry. She is currently investigating methods for controlling white grub in forestry plantations. 

Benice can be contacted at or on 033-386 2314

Richard Burgdorf joined the ICFR on 1 November 2016, as Senior Laboratory Technician. His previous position was at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as the Senior Technician for Plant Pathology. Prior to that, Richard spent several years working in the United Kingdom and in Thailand before returning to South Africa to further his studies.

 He has a BSc degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Rhodes University and a BSc Honours degree in Microbiology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is currently completing his PhD in Microbiology at UKZN on DNA analysis of fungal endophytes and on the symbioses between plants and microbes.

Richard has a strong interest in near infra-red analysis and related technology, and the huge potential that this has for a wide range of research areas. He enjoys looking at existing analytical approaches and where necessary and possible, working out how they can be adapted or optimised further. He is excited about his new role and is looking forward to contributing to the work being done at the ICFR.

Richard can be contacted at or on 033-386 2314

Source: ICFR