National Seed Project Launched

UK National Seed Project

National Tree Seed Project Launched

On Wednesday 26 February, ICF President Prof Julian Evans represented the Institute at the Millenium Seed Centre, where a national launch of Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG), Kew’s UK National Tree Seed Project took place.

UK National Seed Project

Prof Evans heard how the RBG, Kew, are establishing a national collection of tree and shrub seeds. The purpose of the collection is to provide a resource for researchers addressing the threats to trees in the UK and to conserve the genetic diversity of our woody plant species ex situ. High quality seed collections stored in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank can be kept alive for centuries, this means that seeds collected as part of this project will be an invaluable resource for future generations. Collections could also be used as the basis for the reintroduction of appropriate trees into the landscape.

Britain’s Genetic Diversity to be Represented

Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank already holds at least one collection of most orthodox tree and shrub species from the UK. The UK National Tree Seed Project is extending the number of these collections to better represent the genetic diversity present in the British landscape. There will be multiple collections for each tree and shrub species right across its native range.

The project will include research into the population genetics of our target species, in order to inform seed collecting strategies and increase the knowledge-base for forest and conservation management. Additionally, research will be carried out to overcome some of the constraints faced by ex situ tree seed conservation, including developing protocols for banking short-lived and recalcitrant seeds.

In order to maximize the scope and scale of the collection, the project will be working with partners across the UK. During the pilot year (2013), partners included the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust. Project organisers are happy to hear from organisations and individuals with suitable skills and knowledge, who are interested in collaborating in the project. In particular they are looking for people to make seed collections according to our collecting protocol.

Presentation’s from last month’s event are available to download from the project’s Facebook group. Alternatively, contact Project Officer Simon Kallow for more information (01444 894164,

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