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Bedgebury Pinetum participates in South Korean seed collecting expedition

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Kevin Cooper in South Korea

Kevin Cooper, an arborist at the Forestry Commission's Bedgebury National Pinetum has recently returned from a ten day collaborative seed collecting expedition to South Korea, working with the Korea National Arboretum, along with partners from Westonbirt Arboretum, Wakehurst Place and the Millennium Seed Bank.

This was just one of several overseas collecting expeditions in which the team from Bedgebury has participated over recent years to help with global conservation of plants and help expand the collection at Bedgebury.

Kevin said:

“Being a part of the group going to South Korea, and utilising my tree climbing skills to collect seeds from endangered plants to secure their place for future generations, has been a really exciting opportunity for me”

Among the list of trees targeted for collection were ash and pine species native to Asia, for which special permission had to be sought. The collected seeds will be propagated, and will then be added to the Forestry Commission’s existing collection. The ash seed may prove valuable in helping to develop an understanding of Chalara fraxinea, ash dieback disease. The trees grown from the pine seed will be trialled as potential timber trees, as they may be better adapted to cope with predicted changes to climate than the species currently grown in UK.

Dominic Robinson, Manager of Bedgebury said:

“Our purpose is to conserve the world’s rarest conifers, by supporting efforts within countries and by bringing back wild-collected seed to grow in our nursery and eventually plant out into Bedgebury. The expedition Kevin has made is the very start of the journey back from the brink of extinction for these conifers and we are pleased that Bedgebury has been able to make a difference.”

For more information about Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest please contact:

Sandra Styles, Forestry Commission, 01580 213049,

Or visit

For more information about the Forestry Commission, visit

Notes to Editors

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.

About Bedgebury

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in the High Weald of Kent is the perfect place for healthy outdoor activity.

Home to the National Conifer Collection, Bedgebury National Pinetum is recognised as the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world, and contains over 12,000 tree specimens growing across 320 acres including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. The Pinetum contains some 91 vulnerable or critically endangered species and five NCCPG National Collections (Yew, Juniper, Thuja, Lawson Cypress and Leyland Cypress) as well as some of the oldest and largest examples of conifers in Britain.

For visitor information, please call 01580 879820 or visit

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