Forestry in South Africa
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December : Southern African Tree Seed (SATS) Working Group Launched

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10 December, 2012

Southern African Tree Seed (SATS) Working Group Launched

By: Luke Solomon

South Africa contains over 1.2 million hectares of plantation forestry, large areas of which are felled and replanted every year to ensure a continued supply of forest products. Newly felled land may be re-established using rooted cuttings or allowed to coppice, but the majority of trees grown every year are planted as seedlings. These seedlings are grown from a seed crop which is collected in hundreds of seed orchards across the country or even imported from other forestry regions of the world. Seeds remain the most commonly used reproductive material for plantation forest regeneration, not only in South Africa, but internationally too.


The quality and quantity of seed produced in South Africa is of crucial importance to the local forestry industry. Despite the huge impact of this vital raw material, however, there is only a small group of researchers, foresters and scientists that are focused on the production, harvesting and processing of tree seed. Because of the limited number of active seed workers in the country, it was realised that cooperation and communication among peers would be crucial to ensuring a sustainable seed supply in South Africa. With this in mind, the Seed Orchard Research Working Group (SORWG) was formed in 2002 as a way to create a forum for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas around seed and seed orchards.

After ten years in existence, a recent decision was taken to rebrand and re-launch the group as the Southern African Tree Seed Working Group (SATS). The new name emphasises a focus on tree seed of all kinds and the inclusive nature of the group. An updated vision and mission have also been created, which state the various aims and goals of the group. Chief among these are the bringing together of interested parties to promote research and capacity building in all areas of seed science and ensuring a continued seed supply of the highest quality and genetic diversity.

The group meets twice a year to present research and discuss new ideas, and is encouraging new members to join at no cost and contribute to a vibrant community of tree seed enthusiasts. Find the group on LinkedIn, or contact the chairperson at

Eucalyptus-seed Eucalyptus-controlled-polli
 Eucalyptus Seed
Cherry-Picker Harvesting-Pollen
 Cherry Picker
 Harvesting Pollen