Seed Storage

The Tree Seed Centre is responsible for long-term seed storage and maintenance of optimum physical quality of the seeds under the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use.

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The Tree Seed Centre operates three freezer vaults that are maintained at -18°C. These freezers have daily system inspections, a security system, and are supported by a back-up power generator in case of a power failure.

The purpose of storage is to provide a centralized storage facility for the seed required for crown land reforestation. The inventory also has a risk management role in the event of catastrophic losses through wildfire, the mountain pine beetle or possibly climate change.

A seed bank has been maintained for gene conservation purposes. We encourage all seed owners to contribute relatively minor seed quantities for high priority species and areas when requested to do so.


Management of the inventory includes

  • Receiving seedlots
  • Moving each seedlot to a holding cooler
  • Remixing seed to ensure homogeneity
  • Sampling for testing
  • Weighing
  • Cataloging
  • Placing the seed in long-term storage

For seedlots processed at the Tree Seed Centre, remixing is done by seed processing staff. The seed storage supervisor is also responsible for identifying low balance and/or low germination seedlots for clients. An annual summer inventory program that varies by year is conducted to reweigh specific seedlots in storage.

Management of Tree Seed Centre inventory also involves managing seed returned from nurseries and coordinating its reuse. Nurseries are strongly encouraged to dry seed back after use and return it to the Tree Seed Centre as soon as possible. This helps maintain quality and increases the probability of the seed being reused.

All efforts will be made to reuse returned seed, but the best solution is to refine gram requirements to the minimum required to meet your seedling request. Communication and coordination between the request agency and the nursery is a very important step in reducing seed use. This is especially important with seed orchard-produced lodgepole pine, as there will be a significant deficit of this seed for about the next decade.

Seed ownership

Registered tree seed can be owned by private industry or the B.C. government. Within the B.C. government, seed can be owned by Tree Improvement Branch, Field Services (Regions and Districts) and B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS). Field services, Tree Improvement Branch and forest districts use set prices, but private industry may establish their own seed prices.

Seedlots can have more than one owner. The individual portions of seed can be viewed on SPAR.

An owner can designate their seed as

  • "Reserved" for their own purposes and not available for sale
  • "Surplus", indicating that this seed is available for sale
  • A combination of both

Reserved portions of seedlots on SPAR can be withdrawn only by the seed owner. Sowing requests using surplus government-owned seed can be approved immediately.

The Tree Seed Centre will forward an invoice for surplus seed owned by the B.C. government at the current published seed price for these seed sales. Sowing Requests on surplus portions of licensee seedlots must be submitted as “pending” sowing requests until a purchase agreement has been established. The seed owner must then verify the sale with the Tree Seed Centre for the status of the request to be changed to “approved”.