A new grant worth £1.2 million has been announced to boost domestic tree seed production as the demand increases for trees.
The Seed Sourcing Grant, announced by the government today (22 September), is designed to enhance the quantity and quality of tree seed sources in England.
Most tree seed planted in the UK is of British origin, but evidence suggests that British seed sources may struggle to meet future demand across all species and there are known to be global shortages of tree seed.
The grant aims to boost domestic tree seed production and support green jobs, helping meet the increased demand for trees and achieve tree planting targets.
The Seed Sourcing Grant will help to ensure the availability of planting stock to meet domestic tree planting needs.
The grant also aims to improve the diversity of England’s seed supply, by increasing the range of species and provenances available.
Richard Stanford, Forestry Commission chief executive, said: “Seed sourcing is an essential part of tree production and one that can sometimes be overlooked. As planting rates increase, so too will the demand for tree seed.
“This funding will give a vital boost to domestic tree seed production, helping to create diverse and thus resilient woodlands across our country.
"This will both help meet our ambitious tree planting targets and ensure the resilience of woodlands so they can thrive in the uncertain future.”
The grant will also reduce the need to buy seed from the international market, lowering the risk of importing harmful pests and pathogens.
Who can receive the grant?
Eligible activities for the grant include:
• Management of existing seed stands – the groups of trees in the landscape from which seed is collected – to ensure they are productive for seed collectors.
• Desk studies and field studies to identify and bring additional seed stands onto the National Register of Basic material.
• Planning and planting of new seed stands.
• Planning and planting of new seed orchards – which are planted using seed or clonal material from known parents outside of the natural landscape in an area convenient for seed collectors.
• Some activities will take time to implement, and so multi-year funding will be available up until March 2025.
The grant aims to attract a broad range of applicants, including both organisations already involved in these activities and those who have not previously considered seed sourcing.
The closing date for applications is 13 November 2022.