Over recent decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of novel pests and diseases attacking trees in the UK. Furthermore, changing temperatures and more extreme weather events mean that woodlands are subject to risks from changing phenology, drought, fire, and invasive species. It is in this context that Kew launched the UK National Tree Seed Project (UKNTSP) in 2013.
The ability of UK woodlands and trees to meet present and future societal and environmental challenges depends on the availability of genetic diversity between and within tree species. Within species, genetic diversity is the variation among individuals and populations, and it is needed to ensure that tree species can survive, adapt and evolve under changing environmental conditions and are resilient to stresses such as novel pests and diseases.