The UK National Tree Seed Project has been made possible thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Funding has also been provided by John Coates Foundation and Steele Foundation.
Objectives and outputs
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 project is collecting and storing seed from native trees and shrubs throughout the UK. Multiple collections are being made, right across the native range of each species, in order to develop genetically representative collections in the MSB. Already over 10 million seed have been successfully stored. For most of these collections each mother tree is georeferenced, and their seed is stored separately.
The project is also undertaking research to deliver better understanding of the population genetics of UK trees and shrubs, and how to optimise their seed storage and germination procedures.
High quality seed collections stored in the MSB can be kept alive for many decades. This means that seeds collected as part of this project will be a resource for future generations. The collections and associated data are being made available for research and conservation, providing a resource for those addressing the threats and challenges faced by UK trees and woodlands.
To provide a national repository of plant material and associated knowledge, for the purposes of long term conservation, and to make these resources available to users, in order to better understand and manage tree and shrub species in the UK landscape.
- Establishment of an accessible, genetically representative, national seed collection of UK trees and shrubs
- Research to understand and overcome constraints to the ex situ conservation and use of UK tree species
- To raise public awareness of the project, and the role of ex situ conservation in general, to meet the challenges facing the conservation and management of UK trees, woods and forests
Partners and collaborators
Abraichan Forest Trust, Assynt Field Club, Borders Forest Trust, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Community Tree Trust, The Conservation Foundation, Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Eden Project, Essex Wildlife Trust, Falkland Stewardship Trust, Forest Research, Forestry Commission Scotland, Friends of Abernethy, Gwent Wildlife Trust, John Muir Trust, Kendal Conservation volunteers, Kilfinan Community Forest, Kyleakin Environment Group, Montgomershire Wildlife Trust, National Botanic Gardens Wales, National Trust Scotland, North Harris Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Trees for Life, True Harvest, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust.
Kew Science blog: The UK National Tree Seed Project: 10 million seeds later
Kew Science Blog: Banking the UK's Seeds - the MSB UK Programme
Kew Science Blog: Collecting holly with the UK National Tree Seed Project
Kew Science Project: Genomic resources for healthy ash trees
'Banking on the future' article - Woodland Trust Wood Wise - seeds of hope
Keep up to date with our work via Twitter @Kew_MSBUK #UKtreeseeds
Hoban, S., Kallow, S. & Trivedi, C. (2018) Implementing a new approach to effective conservation of genetic diversity with ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in the UK as a case study. Biological Conservation 225: 10–21. Available online
Kallow, S., Trivedi, C. (2017) Collecting genetic variation on a small island. In: Sniezko, R.A., Man, G., Hipkins, V., Woeste, K., Gwaze, D., Kliejunas, J.T. & McTeague, B.A. tech. cords. 2017. Gene conservation of tree species—banking on the future. Proceedings of a workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-963. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 129-136. Available online
Trivedi, C. & Kallow, S. (2017) Benefits and challenges for gene conservation: a view from the UK national tree seed project. In: Sniezko, R. A., Man, G., Hipkins, V., Woeste, K., Gwaze, D., Kliejunas, J.T. & McTeague, B.A., tech. cords. 2017. Gene conservation of tree species—banking on the future. Proceedings of a workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-963. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 44-47. Available online