Forestry Commission logo

Tree species diversification

The tree species files provided to Forest Enterprise England practitioners to help with species selection are available from the links in the right-hand column. These documents should be considered a work in progress as our knowledge of the less used species evolves.


Species are categorised by the scale of knowledge and experience we have.

A:  Major tree species

Currently widely used with no supply problems, and should continue to be an important component

B:  Minor tree species

Currently play a minor role in forestry in England but have demonstrated that their suitability to being part of a range of trees that can help diversify our forests. Seed and plant supply may be a challenge.

C:  Secondary tree species

Tree species with little information on their forest performance but are possible advocates based on their growth in arboreta and gardens. Their use can therefore only be of an experimental nature.

UK tree provenance zones 

The UK tree provenance zones are used to indicate which geographic area a tree species that may use and also the origin/provenance of seed to source. 

A traffic light coding advises on the level of use recommended:

  • Green indicates use as normal
  • Amber indicates that the species is expect to do OK but should be monitored and reviewed
  • Red indicates that this species is not expected to do OK

Local experience and conditions are critical to the process, and can override the traffic light system.

Sourcing seeds

Districts are required to place plant demands three years in advance of when they are required; input by species; and to identify their UK provenance zone. This is to ensure Plant Seed Supply Branch (PSSB) has enough lead time to source and grow the new wider palate of species.

Seeds will be sourced by PSSB as close to the recommended origin as possible. Information supplied is for reference and is the best currently available.

Many of the tree species opposite are referred to as novel or alternative tree species.

Woodland types

Ancient and native woodlands are managed under seperate guidance.