Guidance: Seed Sourcing Grant

Forestry Commission

December 5
08:00 2023

About the Seed Sourcing Grant

The Seed Sourcing Grant (SSG) is now open for applications. The SSG is a competitive grant to provide support for activities that enhance the quality, quantity, and diversity of tree seed sources in England. The government aims to at least treble tree planting rates in England by 2025 and has set legally binding targets to increase tree and woodland cover to 16.5% of total land area by 2050.

The SSG will help to ensure the availability of planting stock to meet these targets.

The SSG supports projects that will increase the quality, quantity, and diversity of Seed Stands and Seed Orchards on the Forest Reproductive Material (FRM) Register of UK Basic Material. See Marketing forest reproductive material for forestry purposes for more details.

Technical experts have developed a set of recommended Tree Seed Species Strategies (PDF, 864 KB, 64 pages).

The strategies cover 21 species that have been identified as a priority for support. They provide suggested ideal approaches to enhance the quality, quantity, and diversity of registered Seed Stands and Orchards for these species. Delivery of these strategies is the priority for financial support from the SSG, which is reflected in the grant evaluation criteria and payment rates. However, given the likely uplift in seed requirement of all kinds to meet planting targets, the scheme is open to proposals covering all species included in the UK FRM scheme including the voluntary scheme.

Guelder rose and wych elm were previously identified as priority species but have been removed as several projects to address these strategies are currently underway. However, they are still eligible for 50% funding as a non-priority species.

View a list of successful seed sourcing projects from previous rounds. We are unlikely to fund work that duplicates activities already funded in rounds one and two so please refer to this list when considering your application.

Read our case study about how Clive Ellis used SSG funding to manage and register a small leaved lime Seed Stand at Oxley Wood in Essex.

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications is 11.55pm Tuesday 13 February 2024. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Sign up to Seed Sourcing Grant webinar

We are hosting a Seed Sourcing Grant: how to apply webinar at 2pm on Wednesday 17 January 2024. During this session, well give advice on putting together an SSG application and you will be able to ask questions about the grant.

Book now: Seed Sourcing Grant: how to apply

If you would like to attend please register: Seed Sourcing Grant webinar tickets.

What funding is available?

Up to 260,000 of funding is available through the SSG, subject to sufficient high-quality bids being received.

All activities related to the 21 priority species seed sourcing strategies will be funded at 100%, and other projects will be funded at 50%.

If applying for a non-priority species, you should consider the source of your match funding before applying and explain this in your application. You may not source match funding from another Nature for Climate Fund funded grant.

Projects must have a minimum total cost of 2,000 to be eligible for funding. You may submit more than one bid during each funding round, but each lead applicant may only apply for a maximum of 75,000 per annum, across all their bids in each funding round.

Funding is available for the 2024-2025 financial year only. All items must be received and work completed between 1 April 2024 and 27 March 2025. Before applying, please make sure you are confident that you can complete all activities and receive all items before this date. Any spend after this date will not be eligible to claim for.

If you are following a recommendation from the priority species strategies that you cannot complete fully by 27 March 2025, you should demonstrate the outputs that will be achieved in the funding period and how these contribute to the grant objectives. You should also explain any future plans beyond the funding period and how the work in your SSG proposal would contribute to these.

Eligible activities:

  1. Management of existing Seed Stands, to ensure they are productive for seed collectors e.g., thinning, improving access, or installing fencing. Seed stands must either already be registered on the National Register of Basic Material or should be registered on the National Register of Basic Material as part of the proposed project. This may include bringing current Source Identified (SI) seed sources under management and registering them as a seed stand as part of the project. These must be time-bound rather than ongoing activities.

  2. Desk studies and field studies to identify and bring additional seed stands onto the National Register of Basic Material.

  3. Planning and planting of new seed stands, and their registration on the National Register of Basic Material.

  4. Planning and planting of new seed orchards and their registration on the National Register of Basic Material.

Proposals can include a combination of activities from the list above.

To be eligible for funding:

  • the project proposal must be relevant to the production of tree seed fromspecies covered by the UK FRM scheme (including those in the voluntary scheme)
  • the Seed Stand or Seed Orchard must be in England
  • the work to be funded must not have commenced, and must not commence until a funding agreement is in place
  • activities must be associated with one of the eligible FRM categories below

Eligible categories of FRM:

  • Source-Identified (SI) Seed Stands
  • Selected and Tested Seed Stands
  • Qualified and Tested Seed Orchards

Source-Identified (SI) Seed Sources are also eligible for funding under this grant if they meet the criteria to be registered as SI seed stands and are registered as seed stands as part of the proposed project.

Definition of terms

Please see below for a list of definitions or visit the FRM guidance pages:

Basic Material

The plant material from which Forest Reproductive Material (FRM) is derived and consists of Seed Stands, Seed Orchards, parent material held by tree breeders in archives, individual Clones and Clonal Mixtures.

Forest Reproductive Material (FRM)

Can consist of fruit, seeds, and cones; all parts of plants obtained by vegetative propagation including embryos; and plant produced from any of these.

The Register of UK Basic Materials

The source of all information on approved Basic Material.

Seed Stands

Specifically defined areas or groups of trees with identified boundaries. They can be source-identified, selected, or tested.

Seed Orchards

Sources based on known individuals derived from tree breeding programmes. They can be qualified or tested.


FRM comes from general or specific locations within a single region of provenance or native seed zone with an altitude bran but with no specific superior qualities recognised.


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