FRM which is subject to EU regulation is certified by the State to ensure its genetic quality and guarantee its origin. To gain access to this information, the end user (the forest owner) must request a document from the supplier which provides all necessary references.
Forest reproductive material is divided into the following marketing categories:
- "source-identified" (yellow label)
The geographical origin is the only information available for materials classified as identified. These are harvested in a seed source, i.e. a set of trees of undetermined size, located in a known harvest zone, corresponding to a single region of origin. There is no preselection of these resources. However, harvesting from isolated trees, hedges or lines are prohibited for seed intended for forestry purposes.
Selected material is from stands chosen mainly on the basis of phenotypic traits (vigour, tree shape, disease resistance). Most trees in these stands must be true-to-type. In 2017, for 24 forest species, 1413 stands were listed, covering a total area of nearly 60,000 ha.
Material classified under the qualified category is artificial, contrary to that from most selected stands. This material is produced in seed orchards (plantations of family clones or parental stock) set up specifically to produce seeds of superior genetic quality. To this end, the raw material components previously undergo individual phenotypic selection in the forest or under test conditions on the basis of criteria such as vigour, tree shape, disease resistance or wood quality.
The highest amount of information is available for tested material. The superiority of this material, relative to one or several reference materials for the species, is demonstrated through comparative tests or component assessments. A technical regulation, in accordance with Article D 153-3 of the forestry code, defines the admission criteria for concerned species and species groups. Basic material can be accepted temporarily if its superiority has not been entirely demonstrated by comparison tests due to the experimental duration being too short. Basic material cannot remain temporarily accepted for more than ten years. After this time, it is either delisted or accepted permanently.
Equivalences can be accorded by decision of the European Commission or by Member States, under certain specific circumstances. This authorises the permanent importation (non-quota) of FRM from third countries (outside of the EU), such as the American Douglas or the European Larch which belong to provenances and/or categories with equivalences for certain marketing categories. Once imported by the EU Member State, these materials may freely circulate in the single market.
A specialised page on the Ministry of Agriculture website provides access to a simplified list of basic material for regulated FRM production in France, for a certain number of EU Member States, as well as a consolidated list of all basic material of regulated forest species in the EU.