Seedlot registration and certification

Last updated on January 29, 2024

All seed destined for Crown land reforestation must be registered with the Tree Seed Centre. Registration ensures that seedlots meet the applicable collection criteria specified in the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use.

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These standards include minimum requirements for genetic diversity and physical quality for B.C. and several northern U.S. species and sources.

The information collected by the Tree Seed Centre is also used to guide transferability of seedlots to maximize forest productivity.

Seedlot definition

A quantity of seed with every portion or every bag uniform within permitted tolerances as to percentage of pure seed, germination etc.

Seedlot registration

Register a seedlot online in SPAR by submitting the application for seedlot registration. This will generate a seedlot number for the collection.

The requirements for seedlot registration are included in the SPAR seedlot registration screen. The screen layout differs for a collection from a natural stand (Class B, B+) and a collection from a seed orchard (Class A). For collections from a seed orchard, you must enter the cone and pollen counts for all the parent trees contributing to the seedlot.

For natural stand applications, you can also submit a completed screen print of the Registration Application from SPAR to the Tree Seed Centre, signed by the seedlot owner, collector or person authorized to act on the owner’s behalf.

You can update online registration information in either incomplete or pending status. You must take the seedlot application for registration to "Submitted" status on SPAR, or your application will not be eligible for registration.

Seedlot requirements

A seedlot must also pass two physical quality tests to qualify for registration:

  • The seeds in the lot must have a moisture content greater than or equal to 4% and less than or equal to 9.9%
  • The seedlot must contain at least 97% pure seed by weight

In addition to these specific criteria, the Tree Seed Centre will provide the following results:

  • The total weight of the seedlot
  • The average weight of seeds in the lot (supplied as seeds per gram (SPG))
  • The germination capacity of the seedlot

These are common requirements for natural stand and seed orchard seed. The specific requirements of each are presented below.

Natural stand seed

For seed collected from natural stands, the seeds must have been collected from a minimum of ten trees. These trees must be in the same natural stand seed planning zone, the same biogeoclimatic zone and from a collection area with a radius of no greater than eight kilometres.

If the seedlot is to be registered as a superior provenance then it must fall within the limits specified in Appendix 5 of the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use. This confirmation step will be helped in the future by maps to ensure seed is from the appropriate drainage and from natural stands.

Collections from plantations are not eligible for registration. Transfer limits for natural stand seed are in Appendix 3 and transfer limits for superior provenances are in Appendix 4 of the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use.

Seed orchard seed

Seed orchard seed is registered with respect to the identity of parent trees contributing to the seedlot. The following brief summary from the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use provides an overview of registration requirements for seed orchard seed. The parent trees may be untested or tested in field trials. A seedlot can be registered as collected from untested or tested parent trees given that the parental contribution of trees in the chosen category is equal to or greater than 70%. Custom lots are an additional type of registration in which the mean origin of the tested parent trees are used to determine transfer limits. The breeding values for parent trees in custom seedlots will default to untested parent tree breeding values for genetic worth calculations.

The transfer limits of untested parent trees are given in Appendix 4 of the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use. For tested parent trees the seedlot must be planted in the area of use that is common to all tested parent trees within the seedlot.

There are two specific variables calculated for seed orchard seed: Effective Population Size and Genetic Worth. Genetic Worth and Effective Population Size are calculated by entering cone and pollen counts along with supplemental mass pollination (SMP) information.

Effective Population Size

Effective Population Size (Ne) is calculated based on the estimated gametic contributions of female and male parent trees. Formulas for calculating Ne are presented in Appendix 7 of the Chief Forester’s Standards for Seed Use. Acceptable methods of estimating gametic contributions are contained in the methods for estimating gamete contributions. A seedlot collected from parent trees must have an Ne equal to or greater than 10 under the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use to qualify for registration.

Genetic Worth

Genetic Worth (GW) is a measure of a seedlot’s genetic worth with respect to a specific trait. The trait is generally volume growth (G), but GW values also exist for wood density (D) and pest resistance (R).

Formulas for calculating GW are also presented in Appendix 7 of the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use. The GW is not a required field for registration. If a seedlot has a GW greater to or equal to 5, complies with the transfer limit of your harvest block, and is owned or can be acquired, then a seedlot of this type must be used for reforestation on crown land. There is no requirement to select the seedlot with the highest GW.

The registration requirements of seed orchard seedlots include confirmation of parent tree breeding values, common area of use, and Ne and GW calculations. The parent tree contribution records the orchard ID(s) and primary Seed Planning Unit (SPU) for the intended area of use. Gamete, supplemental mass pollination (SMP) and pollen contamination are also recorded.

For lots from seed orchards where SMP has been applied, the breeding value contribution of SMP pollen used on the parent trees can be calculated on SPAR.

Lots collected from outside B.C.

Some seedlots collected from outside of B.C. are eligible for registration and use on crown land in B.C. The eligible natural stand and seed orchard seedlots are listed in Appendix 6 of the Chief Forester's Standards for Seed Use.

Any information required of seedlots from B.C. is also required of seedlots from non-B.C. sources.

Contact Information

For seedlot registration and certification questions, contact the Inventory Management Supervisor (see the Tree Seed Centre contact list). Call or email the Tree Seed Centre for general enquiries.