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National Tree Seed Centre launches Indigenous seed collection program


March 21, 2022
By CFI staff
Photo: Annex Business Media

The federal government has launched a seed collection program that aims to build the capacity of Indigenous communities to collect seeds from tree species based on their cultural, spiritual and economic importance.

The Indigenous Seed Collection Program will be delivered through Natural Resources Canada’s National Tree Seed Centre (NTSC) and is tied in to the government’s 2 Billion Trees program.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement the program will support Indigenous leadership within the tree-planting 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,” Wilkinson said.

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Elizabeth Jessome, project manager for the Mi’kmaq Forestry Initiative, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, said Indigenous capacity is slowly growing through supports such as this. “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,” she said.

According to the government statement, 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.