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The Seed We Use: Part II. How to Assure Reliable Information About It

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A previous article discussed the importance of identifying seed origin or certifying genetic quality and indicated probable costs of so doing. For generally satisfactory identification or certification of seed there must be some reliable agency charged with responsibility for such action. Such an agency may be voluntary or it may be set up by law. Examples of voluntary agencies are the Western Forest Tree Seed Certifying Organization planned to operate regionally in the Pacific Northwest and organizations in some Scandinavian countries. For tree seed in most European countries and for agricultural seed generally, certification backed by legislation has become the mode. In the United States only 12 state laws are interpreted to cover tree seeds (Ala., Ariz., Fla., Ga., Mass., Md., Mich., Nev., N.Y., Pa., S.C., S. Dak.). In these 12 states tree seed in the trade must bear an official label showing its kind and quality, and the date and county of collection. Laws of 9 of these states permit certification (it is never mandatory) and 5 of the states (Ala., Ga., N.Y., S.C., S. Dak.) have developed certification standards for tree seeds. In these 5 states seed "identified" or "certified" will bear an additional label giving more details as to origin and items of genetic interest and showing that a qualified, official agency has verified this information. The Federal Seed Act backstops state seed laws covering agricultural and vegetable seed (not tree seed) which enters interstate commerce and requires inspection and fumigation of all imported seed (including tree seed). Foreign tree seed legislation is similar to our own in many respects but varies greatly in details. American foresters should take a position on seed legislation and certification that will represent a positive approach directed toward the best long-run interests of the forests and forestry in the United States.

Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: 1963-04-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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