In 2006, the NSL worked with European Union countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to develop a new standard to label tree seeds, based on genetics, for international trade. This resulted in increased European demand for tree seeds from the Pacific Northwest United States. Specifically, Germany seeks Douglas-fir, which is more drought resistant than Germany's native spruce, which is suffering from climate change. The NSL implements this agreement through U.S. state seed certification agencies.
NSL staff participate on the International Seed Testing Association forestry committee to ensure international testing standards are in place for U.S. seeds exported to other countries.
Training in Relation to International Activities
Individual and group training
Seed workers from other countries are welcome to visit the NSL for training and exchange of seed testing and seed cleaning information. There is no charge for this training, however, travel and living expenses, while at the NSL, are the responsibility of the trainee or their sponsor. Occasionally, NSL staff have conducted seed workshops abroad or assisted in leading training workshops held by the International Seed Testing Association. Requests for training may be submitted directly to the NSL or made through other agencies in the U.S. government or international organizations.
Assistance with international Seed Exchange for U.S. Forest Service and Cooperators: If you have any of the needs given below or similar ones, this service is for you.
I need to send seeds to a researcher in a foreign country.
I have an international seed request and do not know what to do with it.
I need to regularly exchange seeds with a cooperator in another country.
International seed requests received by National Forests or FS research stations are sent to the NSL. Assistance might be needed from you to acquire seeds to fill the request, but the paper work, seed inspections, and shipment will be handled by the Seedlab. Assistance in filling a seed request directly can also be provided. Researchers intending to regularly exchange materials should exchange directly with their foreign contacts and not use the lab as an intermediary. Assistance is available to establish this direct relationship.
Import permits are generally required to bring seeds into the U.S. Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service Perrmit Page
APHIS now has an ePermits system which offers an electronic option for permits. APHIS can also provide information on how to acquire a phytosanitary certificate. A certificate must be prepared by the country sending the seeds to the U.S. The import permit is sent to the sender of the seed to attach to the seed shipment and is generally required before a phytosanitary certificate is prepared.