Ecoguard Biosciences

Ecoguard Biosciences (Pty) Ltd is a field research based company specialised in the development and distribution of products which provide effective solutions for pest and vegetation management and yet are compatible with the environment, with a low risk potential with regards to humans and non-target organisms. The product range currently developed is exclusive and specialised, offering selective solutions for a soft approach to bush encroachment and invader weed control in conservation, rangeland, forestry, industry and water bodies.

The Ecoguard range of products are used extensively in Alien Plant Control work, and carries registrations for use on a large number of alien plant species. In order to effectively service the correct and efficient use of these products, Ecoguard has a network of technically qualified Field Staff and Agents.

Ecoguard's technical personnel are further trained in order to activate technology transfer to customers and selected operators. The company's principal focus in this regard is to empower SMME's and BEE's with sufficient technical expertise to enable them to operate efficiently and effectively. Further to this, Ecoguard's policy to train has provided upliftment opportunities within the company itself, and also within companies and organisations which it services.

History of


Ecoguard was founded in September 1994 by Richard Forsyth-Thompson.

Richard had worked for Dow AgroSciences from 1980 to 1987 when Dow left South Africa for political reasons.

In 1987 a South African registered company named CH Chemicals (Pty) Ltd was formed which represented all Dow Chemicals’ interests in Southern Africa. Richard became a director of CH Chemicals heading up the Agricultural Chemical division. It was during this period that with the freedom to take on projects that may not necessary have fited the global view of the old mother company, but which fit Richard’s passion for environmental issues, with a special focus on selective invader weed control. The first major product was in to Forestry which at that time only had 245.T and the fairly new to the market Roundup, the now world-famous brand for glyphosate. However, 245.T was banned in the early 1980’s due to the side effects of dioxin as a result of its use by the US forces in the infamous ‘operation orange’ in the Vietnam War. The product was used to indiscriminately defoliate the jungle. It was during this period that with a focus on Forestry that Garlon 4 was developed and registered and a specialist forestry team was formed within CH Chemicals to service forestry silviculture.

Dow AgroSciences returned to South Africa shortly after the first free and fair elections in 1994. Dow AgroSciences only wanted a small two-man liaison office in South Africa and did not want to be directly involved in distribution or the expense of developing what they thought were low volume potential products that Richard and his team were planning.

As a result, a deal was struck, and Richard and a large portion of his team became Ecoguard in September 1994 with an exclusive mandate to develop and register Dow AgroSciences products of their choice in Forestry and non-crop markets.

With this freedom, Ecoguard with its vision of selective control of alien weeds developed, at its own initiative and cost, a range of specialist products to enable foresters to have a range of vegetation management options to meet specific needs.

Starane 200 EC and Lontrel 100 SL up to that point had been exclusively wheat herbicides in Europe and elsewhere. Ecoguard also developed Timbrel 360 SL for forestry. These initiatives changed the silvicultural practices in South Africa.

Ecoguard identified the potential for these products in forestry and developed and registered them. Within the new South Africa one thing that was certain was that there would be change! Ecoguard predicted that there would be a major growth in private game farming. However, there was an invader bush crisis in the thornveld areas of Northern Cape, North West Province, Limpopo, Northern Natal and Eastern Free State.

The official statistics of encroached bush areas at this time was 40 million ha. Ecoguard initiated and pioneered the rapid expansion of the bush control market by developing the product Access 240 SL. Ecoguard hired from Tawoomba research station the well-known conservationist, Arnaud le Roux, for the purpose of developing this product and markets. This initiative of Ecoguard driven by Arnaud le Roux has had a large impact on how invader bush is controlled in South Africa.

In the late 1990’s Ecoguard engaged with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in the very early days of the “Working for Water” program for the control of alien vegetation primarily in the water catchment areas but also in other areas where underground water is being dried up.

For this purpose, Ecoguard initiated and implemented over the years the development and registration of following products: Confront 360 SL, Confront Super 132 SL, Garlon Max 270 EW and Plenum 160 ME all highly successful and significant products.

Richard also founded the specialist training company New Africa Skills Development (Pty) Ltd which amongst many different courses pioneered the first accredited course for applicators and supervisors in alien weed control in environmentally sensitive areas.

As a result of the increasing number of generic copycat products entering the market that Ecoguard had pioneered and developed, Ecoguard strategically decided to develop and brand its own high-quality generics of the originals.

These products assure the best quality and very best prices.

Ecoguard still offers the original Dow brand products but now offers our quality generics brand: Nuvogon 480 EC for Garlon 480 EC, Sabre 200 EC for Starane 200 EC, Lancer 100 SL for Lontrel 100 SL, Scrubber 240 SL for Access 240 SL, Gladiator 160 ME for Plenum 160 ME as well as Eco-Imazapyr 100 SL and Bush Pig 360 SL

Ecoguard continues to innovate and is busy developing new products for Forestry, Bush Control, Aquatic Weed Control and other unique products to be announced.