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Registration of Basic Material of Indigenous Origin

The origin of a source is recognised as that part of the natural distribution of the species from which the material originally derived. A species is native to Great Britain if this is within its accepted natural distribution.

The use of the word 'indigenous' in these descriptions is limited to Great Britain.

The Forestry Commission may inspect stands for which an application for registration as indigenous has been made in both the source-identified and the selected categories. Inspection will assess:

  • the size of the population of trees being proposed;
  • the isolation of the material from other material of the same or a hybridising species of non-indigenous or unknown origin;
  • the authenticity of the material

Authenticity will be considered through any evidence available from:

  • a natural spatial distribution of the trees with no evidence of a regular planting pattern;
  • an uneven and wide age structure among the trees indicating regular natural regeneration;
  • physical evidence of long-term management practices which are common in ancient woodland, such as coppicing or pollarding;
  • maps and management records indicating a long history of management using natural regeneration;
  • reference to the area in any inventory which lists recognised native or indigenous woodland.

Applicants should obtain as much documentation covering the proposed area as possible and submit copies of this to the Forestry Commission with their application.

In view of the long history of human influence on native woodland in Britain, certainty of nativeness may be difficult to establish. It must be recognised, therefore, that a favourable balance of probability of nativeness can provide a basis for the acceptance of a proposed area for registration.

Origin is identified in the National Register in one of three ways:




No information is available on the basis of which a description of the origin of the source can be confidently provided.


The origin of the material is known not to be from part of Great Britain.

For a native species:

This means that there is clear information that the parental material was established from reproductive material which originated in a part of the species’ natural range lying outside Great Britain.

For a non-native species:

The natural distribution of which does not encompass Great Britain, this will be the normal designation used when the origin is known.


The source will be a species which is native to Great Britain. Basic Material eligible for registration can be recognised as:

Natural stands:

The Basic Material will be growing at a site at which it can be assumed to have regenerated naturally since the existing woodland on the site became established.

Planted stands:

The source will be a species native to Great Britain and will consist of planted material which has been raised from seed collected at a known site as described above.

Products of tree selection and breeding programmes:

The individual trees represented are of indigenous origin and could be components of all types of Basic Material based on individual tree selection.

Last updated: 8th November 2017