Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The OECD groups 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. With active relationships with some 70 other countries, NGOs and civil society, it has a global reach. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation. Governments have long intervened in domestic and international markets to support agricultural production. Many of these interventions, mainly through production subsidies and trade barriers, impose costs on consumers and taxpayers, reduce economic efficiency, distort production and trade, impede growth in developing countries, and may damage the environment.

OECD Ministers of Agriculture have agreed to "the long-term objective of substantial progressive reductions in support and protection", and have adopted a set of shared goals for the agro-food sector. In 2001 OECD Ministers again recognised that "OECD's analysis ... is an essential contribution to the understanding of agricultural policies and their international impacts".

Contact: Bertrand Dagallier, Administrateur
Codes et Systemes agricoles de l'OCDE
2, Rue Andre-Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France
tel: +33 (0) 1 45 24 18 78

For more information on OECD's forest related activities, visit the Web site:

OECD Scheme for Certification of forest reproductive material moving in international trade

The OECD Scheme aims to encourage the production and use of forest tree seeds or plants that have been collected, processed, raised, labelled and distributed in a manner that ensures their trueness to name. The certified material is intended for use in a variety of forestry functions: timber production, soil protection, environmental criteria etc. The Scheme originated in 1974, and discussions to update it started in 1995/96.

A useful overview of the updated scheme can be found in Nanson (2001)1. The following is a summary of the key points taken from that paper.

The scheme defines four broad categories of forest reproductive material, and seven types of basic materials:


  1. Source-identified material, where - as a minimum - a description of the location (i.e. region of provenance, seed source, or delineated stand) and possibly altitude, are mentioned on the certificate. There has been no form of phenotypic selection.
  2. Selected material, where the basic material has undergone phenotypic selection at the population level. This includes seed stands which are phenotypically superior to other stands in the same region of provenance.
  3. Qualified material, where there has been phenotypic selection at the individual level.
  4. Tested material, where the material has been found to be genetically superior by testing (e.g. in progeny tests or in comparative trials).


  1. Seed source, where seed is collected within a collection zone or seed source. This zone is not necessarily delineated, nor clearly identified. However, the region of provenance where the seed source lies must be clearly delineated and identified in a register.
  2. Stand, which is a well delineated population of trees possessing sufficient uniformity. For the selected category, the stand must be registered
  3. Seed plantation, which has originated from seedlings derived from sources located in one or more regions of provenance, in which phenotypic selection has been carried out at provenance and individual tree level. There are two situations: (i) provenances are bulked, no tree being identified by its provenance, and (ii) each tree is identified by its provenance, and statistically laid out in the plantation. This corresponds to a provenance seeding seed orchard.
  4. Seed orchard, which has originated from selected clones or families, isolated and managed to avoid or reduce pollination from outside sources, and to produce frequent, abundant and easily harvested crops of seed. There are two types of seed orchard: (i) clonal, and (ii) family seedling (equivalent to progeny tests using small plots, where the trees are later subjected to genetic selective thinning)
  5. Parents of families, which are defined groups of trees (clones) producing open pollinated or controlled pollinated families. These are afterwards mixed for production. Usually, the mixture is vegetatively bulk propagated.
  6. Clone, which is a group on individuals (ramets) derived originally from the same single individual (ortet) by vegetative propagation (e.g. by cuttings or micropropagation). All individuals will have the same genotype (unless somatic mutation occurs).
  7. Clonal mixture, of initially identified clones in defined populations. Usually, the ramets of these clones are mixed and bulked, and thus identity of individual ramets is lost. Such mixtures are sometimes called multiclonal or polyclonal varieties.

In summary, these four categories and seven types produce fourteen authorised combinations for the purposes or certification.

Seed source x      
Stand x x   x
Seed plantation     x x
Seed orchard     x x
Parents of family(ies)     x x
Clone     x x
Clonal mixture     x x
x = authorised combinations

There is a European Union directive concerning the marketing of forest reproductive material which has categories and types of material that are similar to the unofficial 1996 OECD scheme, and is based on it. SeeOrganizations - EUfor more information.

For general information on the OECD forest scheme, visit the Web site:

For text of the scheme see:

1 Nanson, A. 2001. The new OECD scheme for the certification of forest reproductive materials. Silvae Genetica, 50: 5-6.


BioTrack Online focuses on information related to the regulatory oversight of products of biotechnology which is used by governments, industry and other stakeholders (regulatory development of countries, product database, field trials, free documents, etc).

For more information, visit the Web site:,2688,en_2649_34385_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
last updated:  Thursday, April 19, 2007