Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE)

CATIE is a regional centre dedicated to graduate education and research in agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Its Regular Members include the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. CATIE's core budget is strengthened by annual contributions from these members. The Ministers of Agriculture or of the Environment of member countries constitute its Governing Council.

Contact: Director General Pedro Ferriera

For further general information, visit the Web site

Tree Seed Bank (TSB)

CATIE's Tree Seed Bank (TSB) was created in 1967 with the support of the German organization GTZ. Its fundamental purpose was to administer forest seed samples. CATIE created the bank in response to the difficulty of finding good quality tree seeds in the region. Up until 1991, the TSB focused its activities on collecting and distributing seeds to the many research programs and occasionally commercial plantations found in Tropical America. However, since 1992, in the face of the regional need for tree seeds with better genetic and physiological quality, the TSB began to assist the Regional Tree Seed Banks by putting into effect the Tree Seed Project (PROSEFOR).


The TSB long term goal is "contributing to the sustainability and increased forestry and agroforestry production through the storage of genetically and physiologically well adapted seeds". In the mean time, TSB seeks to strengthen both private and state run Regional Tree Seed Banks in order to achieve financial and technical sustainability and therefore, be able to provide high quality seeds.


The TSB offers services in four specific areas:

  • Training - The TSB offers formal courses, promotional courses or training services for technicians and seed producers on the following topics: seed source selection, evaluation and management; seed collection techniques (scaling); tree seed collection planning (costs and yields); tree seed management (collection, processing and storage); analysis of the physical quality of tree seeds (ISTA Norms); tree seed evaluation (desiccation and storage); tree seed germination protocols; and tree seed documentation system.

  • Research - The TSB has trained personnel and equipment needed to carry out research in the following areas: evaluation and identification of populations of species of interest; determination of the best times for seed collection and collection techniques; evaluation of forest seeds (desiccation and storage); determination of the best harvest techniques; and determination of the best germination protocol.

  • Availability - The TSB makes available its Tree Seed Database to the Tree Seed Banks of the region. It contains information of available seeds from more than ten banks, and has more than 100 species and information about prices, availability, and physical condition of the seeds.

  • Seed Acquisition and Purchasing Process - To purchase seeds from the TSB's collection write to:
For further information, visit the Web site:

Tree Seeds Project (PROSEFOR)

CATIE's Tree Seeds Project (PROSEFOR) was initiated in the seven countries in October of 1992 and completed in 2001, financed by the Danish Cooperation Agency (DANIDA).

The main objective of PROSEFOR was to strengthen the development of silviculture in the member countries, through the promotion and production of seeds with improved genetic and physiological quality.

The Tree Seed Project performed its activities in the five countries of Central America and in the Dominican Republic, through cooperation agreements with the national forestry services, forest seed banks and other institutions interested in the provision of forest reproductive material. These institutions have assigned a counterpart person, known as a link, with whom the different activities that the project performs in each country were implemented.

PROSEFOR has produced a range of excellent publications, in Spanish, on all aspects of species selection and seed handling in the region.

For more information, visit the Web site:

Central American and Caribbean Regional Organisation of Forest Seeds (REMSEFOR)

The goal of REMSEFOR is to strengthen the supply of physically and genetically good quality forest seeds, in order to improve the quality and productivity of the reforestation programs developed by private initiative, the public sector and non governmental organizations (NGO's) of the member countries.

Among the specific objectives are:

  • to regularly interchange and divulge technical information and guidelines about production, commercialization and consumption of forest product material and the sources of seeds inscribed in the national registers of each country;
  • to identify the training requirements of personnel at different levels related with forest production material and genetic improvement, and also to obtain funding;
  • to regularly analyze the supply and demand of seeds at a regional level and to suggest short and medium term strategies in order to guarantee a continued supply;
  • to agree and standardise methodologies for the correct calculation of the production costs of forest production material;
  • to join the endeavours of private industry, governmental institutions and universities to identify gaps and/or technological needs and to propose basic and applied research projects for their solution;
  • to promote and decide common principles in order to implement or establish similar procedures in the certification process of forest seeds in the region;
  • to analyze and propose sustainable mechanisms for the Network and for the forest seed banks.

To perform its work, REMSEFOR has financial and technical support from the Tree Seed Project (PROSEFOR) of CATIE.

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last updated:  Wednesday, June 27, 2007