How to market forest reproductive material (FRM) for forestry purposes, including regulations, registration, master certificates and licences.
Applies to England, Scotland and Wales
If you market Forest Reproductive Material (FRM) to establish forests in England, Scotland or Wales (Great Britain), or collect and produce it for later marketing, you must follow certain rules so that:
planting stock can be traced back to its source of basic material – for example, the tree from which the seed is collected
buyers have information about the product and its genetic quality
The rules apply to.
This also applies to those who market or produce FRM for import or export.
Check with the relevant authority in Northern Ireland about its FRM rules.
FRM system guidance
- FRM guide - please note that this document is currently under review and does not contain the most up to date information.
Basic Material Manager Guidance
FRM Supplier Guidance
Register as a FRM supplier
Only registered suppliers can market FRM. Apply to the Forestry Commission to become an approved supplier of forest reproductive material (FRM).
If you do not comply with regulations you can be removed from the register of FRM suppliers or have conditions imposed.
Register as a Basic Material Manager
It is important that the Forestry Commission is informed of any changes to Basic Material to prevent marketing of reproductive material that does not meet the requirements of the appropriate category. Owners must tell the Forestry Commission of any reduction in area of the Basic Material, or any material change to its composition or stocking, no later than 28 days before a collection of reproductive material. Changes to Basic Material can result in its downgrading to a lower category in, or its removal from, the National Register. This may involve inspection.
Join a voluntary certification scheme
If you collect species not covered by the regulations, you can join a voluntary certification scheme. It allows:
collectors to certify their native seed collections
buyers to trace species from you the same way they can trace regulated (controlled) planting stock
To market species on the voluntary list you must follow the same procedures as for controlled species.
Register as a supplier and follow the same notification and application process for seed collection and certification.
FRM can consist of:
all parts of a plant obtained by vegetative propagation, including embryos, and plants produced from any of these
Forestry purposes includes:
forests and woodlands for tourism, recreational, sporting, educational or amenity purposes
the conservation and enhancement of the forest and woodland environment
The following are not covered by the regulations:
landscape planting for transport infrastructure
urban planting associated with industrial and urban developments
production of Christmas trees
Market FRM from registered basic material
You can only market FRM from the Forestry Commission’s national register of basic material.
Basic material is sourced from:
- seed sources
- seed orchards
- parents of tree families
- clonal mixtures
If you’re the owner of the basic material, you, your agent or an authorised person can apply to register basic material for forestry purposes.
How FRM is categorised
FRM is categorised according to the basic material from which it is collected.
This comes from general or specific locations within a singlewith an altitude band but no specific superior qualities have been identified.
This is collected from stands that show superior characteristics, for example, they have very good form, growth rate or health.
This comes from the selection of superior individual trees which have not had any form of testing.
This comes from the selection of individual trees or stands that have been evaluated for genetic quality or exceed minimum standards.
How to collect FRM for marketing
After you have registered as a supplier, you must:
- get permission from the owner or agent of the site before starting work
- use the land information search to check for site designations or other sensitivities
- notify the Forestry Commission that you intend to collect tree seed at least 14 days before
Provide the Forestry Commission with details of:
- place of collection, including a grid reference
- species to be collected
- basic material reference in the national register, or the public register of forest reproductive material suppliers for source identified (SI) material
- proposed date and duration of collection
How to market your collection
You must apply for a master certificate or licence within 9 months of collection or before marketing FRM, whichever is soonest.
A certificate is issued for each single entry in the national register of basic material. It shows information such as:
Each certificate has a unique number to identify that collection.
In general, all seed which is marketed must be tested for the following:
- percentage by weight of pure seed, other seed, and inert matter
- germination percentage of the pure seed, or where this is impractical, the viability percentage
- weight of one thousand pure seeds
- number of germinable/viable seeds per kilogram
This information must be on the supplier’s document. The supplier must also give the date of the seed test. There is no statutory seed testing year and no requirement to re-test the seed lot each year, or to re-test any smaller lots separated from the original lot. There must be re-testing after mixing seed lots.
Small quantities of seed as defined in Schedule 11 of the Regulations (available from email@example.com) do not need to be tested for germination percentage of the pure seed or number of germinable/viable seeds per kilogram.
Only seed testing facilities approved by the Forestry Commission can carry out statutory seed testing. See list of approved seed testing facilities.
You must keep master certificates for at least 5 years.
To meets the Regulations, all clones must be individually identifiable and registered as Basic Material in the National Register. To register these collections and apply for Master Certificates, please first contact Stuart A’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a License to Market form.
Provide a supplier’s document
When you market seed, or plants grown from material covered by a master certificate, you must give the buyer a supplier’s document on delivery.
You must do this at any stage of the production – it’s not just issued when the original collector markets material.
Use the FRM supplier’s document and example for multifunctional forestry as a template.
Provide a seed certificate
You must also provide a copy of a seed test certificate to the buyer. Only nurseries approved by the Forestry Commission can test seed.
These are currently approved:
Allow Forestry Commission inspections
Forestry Commission inspectors can visit any site or facility where FRM production takes place. You must allow access.
They will check that separation, labelling and mixing of FRM complies with regulations.
You must notify the Forestry Commission:
- about any changes to basic material within 28 days
- of the final results of testing basic material given ‘conditional approval’ within 28 days
- that an agreed production target for the propagation of clonal material has been reached
Keep your documents
All print and digital documents – including books, maps, plans or photographs – should be available for inspection.
You must keep:
- the notification to the Forestry Commission of the intention to collect FRM and a written record of the owner’s consent
- master certificates
- seed testing information
- supplier’s labels or documents
- special licences for marketing issued by the Forestry Commission
- information supplied to the Forestry Commission relating to the movement of FRM
- plant passports
You should keep master certificates until the FRM to which they relate to no longer exists.
The Forestry Commission will notify you if they need you to keep any other documents.
You can import FRM from countries which the UK recognises its standards and certification schemes as being similar (equivalent).
If you import FRM from any country you need to notify the Forestry Commission.
You will also need to check that the FRM that you are importing is not prohibited under the Plant Health (Phytosanitary Conditions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Contact the Forestry Commission if you’re not sure if your FRM is allowed.
To export FRM you must check if the country you’re exporting to has any import plant health (phytosanitary) requirements.
You have to follow standard international rules to market FRM from England, Scotland or Wales (Great Britain) in the EU. In most cases, this means that your FRM must be certified under Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rules. To understand the requirements, contact the national plant protection organisation of the country you’re exporting to.
If they follow OECD rules, you must request the necessary phytosanitary certificate from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in England and Wales and the Horticultural Marketing Unit in Scotland.
Appeal a Forestry Commission decision
You can appeal any Forestry Commission decision, including:
- time or production limits placed on the propagation of clones or clonal mixtures
- refusal to issue a master certificate
- refusal to register a supplier, or removal of a supplier’s name from the register of suppliers
- refusal to grant a special licence
- refusal to approve seed testing practices as internationally acceptable techniques
Contact the Forestry Commission for details on how to appeal as soon as you are notified with a decision.
You must suspend all activities related to the decision and appeal until you know the final outcome of the appeal.
Subscribe to forestry trade news
See the forest reproductive material newsletters to stay informed about any regulatory or legislative changes.
Email FRM@forestrycommission.gov.uk to be added to the mailing list.
Updates are automatically sent to registered suppliers. You can opt out if you do not want to receive them.
Direct enquiries about basic material and the national register, the register of suppliers, importing and exporting, FRM regulations and appeals, to the forest reproductive material manager.
For enquiries about seed collection notifications, master certificates, applications and general FRM information, contact FRM admin support.
Plant Health Forestry
Telephone: 07385 419731