Seed production

Seed production in B.C. happens on both private and government seed orchards. The goal of seed production is to produce high-quality, genetically improved seed through the planning, administration and management of seed orchards in a Crown land stewardship framework.

  • Select seed, previously known as “A” class seed, can increase forest productivity, mitigate potential reductions in allowable annual cut (AAC), and alleviate short-term timber supply shortages
  • “B” class seed is collected from wild stand sources, while select seed is derived from seed orchards
  • "B+" seed is from superior provenance wild stands

The seed production program includes most of the commercial tree species in the province.

  • Coastal species: coastal Douglas-fir, western redcedar, western hemlock, white pine and yellow cypress
  • Interior species: interior Douglas-fir, interior spruce, lodgepole pine, white pine, western larch and Ponderosa pine

A seed orchard is a key element in a successful tree improvement program. Provincial government seed orchards have been around since 1963. They are advanced generation plantations of genetically superior trees, intensively managed to produce frequent, abundant, and easily harvested seed crops.

Currently, Tree Improvement Branch manages 40 seed orchards and supplies seed for 25 Seed Planning Zones. This ensures that seedlings are genetically suitable for the climate and ecological conditions of the area in which they are planted. Seed planning zones are geographic areas defined on a map or by a biogeoclimatic variant to control the movement of seed or to delineate an area within which parent trees are selected for propagation or breeding.

Tree Improvement Branch is not involved in any genetic engineering, gene insertion, gene splicing or biotechnology that results in genetically modified organisms. In keeping with the Government’s broad stewardship responsibilities for Crown land, Tree Improvement Branch has ensured that no genetically modified tree seed has been registered or used in operational forest planting on Crown land in British Columbia.