National Tree Seed Centre Launches Indigenous Seed Collection Program

News release

March 21, 2022                                      Fredericton, New Brunswick                   Natural Resources Canada

Canada’s forests are an integral part of our fight against climate change. Resilient forest ecosystems help preserve biodiversity, protect and conserve our water resources and mitigate the effects of climate change by capturing and storing carbon, resulting in clean and healthy air. They also play an important role in the everyday life of communities across Canada, including Indigenous communities.

That’s why today Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, and Jenica Atwin, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced the launch of the Indigenous Seed Collection Program, which will build the capacity of Indigenous communities to collect seeds from tree species of cultural, spiritual and economic importance to those communities.

This program will be delivered through Natural Resources Canada’s National Tree Seed Centre (NTSC), and will advance conservation and planting of various tree species under the 2 Billion Trees program. It will support Indigenous communities as they play a vital role in ensuring that the right tree is planted in the right place.

Specifically, the Indigenous Seed Collection Program will:

•                 explore Indigenous seed collection and storage capacity;

•                 assess equipment and training needs across Canada;

•                 incorporate Indigenous knowledge into seed collecting, training and conservation efforts;

•                 collaborate with communities and Indigenous-led small and medium-sized enterprises to identify technical and training needs;

•                 co-develop a strategy with Indigenous communities to support the collection of species of interest for habitat creation, management of species at risk, restoration of ecosystems and community forest programs; and

•                 develop a network of community participants to assist in seed collection and processing.


“The Indigenous Seed Collection Program will support Indigenous leadership within the 2 Billion Trees program. This program will help us ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place and will inform our efforts to preserve biodiversity and protect forest resources for generations to come.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Natural Resources

“Indigenous Peoples have long been stewards and managers of the land and waters and leaders in conservation in Canada. Supporting Indigenous communities to ensure the collection of seeds from important tree species is vital to the health and conservation of boreal ecosystems. Healthy, growing and sustainably managed forests are key to fighting climate change and to contributing to the prosperity, health and well-being of all Canadians.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault

Minister of Environment and Climate Change

"Indigenous traditional values and knowledge must be at the centre of our efforts to preserve our forests. The Indigenous Seed Collection program will incorporate Indigenous knowledge into seed collection and conservation, particularly for species with cultural, spiritual, and economic importance to Indigenous communities.”

Jenica Atwin

Member of Parliament for Fredericton

“While protecting communities’ treaty rights and harvest locations, the NTSC can help grow capacity for Indigenous-led forest restoration through seed processing, storage and germination testing — contributing to the goal of planting two billion trees by 2030.”

Donnie McPhee

Coordinator, National Tree Seed Centre

“It is through the past and continued support of the NTSC that our capacity is slowly growing. We are hopeful that this partnership can continue and that we, in turn, can help to identify species of local significance and provide local seed for research and storage.”

Elizabeth Jessome

Mi'kmaq Forestry Initiative Project Manager, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • The NTSC, located at the Atlantic Forestry Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick, is Canada’s national centre of expertise for the collection and conservation of tree seeds. With a network of partners across Canada and working to ensure seed conservation, education and research for current and future generations, the NTSC maintains a unique collection of seeds from native trees and shrub species dating as far back as 1951. This collection is used for research, conservation, restoration and reclamation efforts, and it ensures the continued genetic diversity and preservation of Canada’s forests. Their work contributes to Canada’s efforts in preserving the biodiversity of Canada’s forests and in realizing our climate change strategies, including through the 2 Billion Trees program.

  • The National Tree Seed Centre maintains a dynamic living library of Canada’s forest genetic resources and has over 13,000 unique seed collections from over 200 tree and shrub species, the most diverse collection of its kind in Canada.

  • Planting two billion trees across the country will help Canada’s efforts to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Trees capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, improve air and water quality, support biodiversity and create and support thousands of good jobs.

  • The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

Associated links


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Keean Nembhard

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Natural Resources


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