Databases & collections
Scion is home to databases and collections of national and international importance.
They are widely used to support diagnostic services, research, and the development of industry standards. We maintain these collections and databases to a high standard.
We welcome public use of these resources. Please contact us for more information about access and any charges that might apply.
Forest health collections
These collections are the largest sample collections and databases relating to forest health in New Zealand. They comprise internationally registered living collections of fungi (and bacteria), dried specimens of fungi and plant material containing fungi, and forest insects. The forest health collections are important for identification and diagnostic services and support fundamental and operational pathology and entomology research.
National Forest Culture Collection
This is an internationally registered living collection of almost 3000 fungal specimens (including some bacteria and lichens) stored in culture. Some pathogenic (disease causing) fungi from overseas is stored in a containment facility.
National Forest Mycological Herbarium
Also internationally registered, this collection comprises almost 2000 dried fungal specimens and plant material containing fungi.The earliest collections date back to the late 1800s from Sweden.
Specimen loans are made to other herbaria in New Zealand and overseas rather than to individuals. Cultures are priced at $US150.00 each unless it is for genuine scientific research in which case there is no charge. If you require a culture for science research, please include a reference from your organisation outlining the nature of this research. Payment must be made before cultures are dispatched.
Darryl Herron, Team Lead, Pathogen Diagnostics and Collections
National Forest Insect Collection (FRNZ)
The National Forest Insect Collection contains entomological specimens - mainly forest insects and insects affecting timber in use. This is the most comprehensive collection of insects related to forestry in New Zealand. The collection was established in 1948, and now contains approximately 100,000 pinned specimens and 44,000 in ethanol.
The collection contains adults gathered during forest surveys and trapping, and those reared from field-collected caterpillars and wood boring larvae. Parasitoids are well represented; as are immature stages. The collection also contains many exotic insects discovered during quarantine inspections of imported timbers, casewood and dunnage. Major holdings are Coleoptera (Cerambycidae, Scolytidae, Curculionidae); Lepidoptera (Tortricidae, Noctuidae, Geometridae); Hymenoptera (Ichneumonidae).
The collection is an essential research, diagnostic and archival resource for forest health work both in New Zealand and overseas. It is used routinely to provide identification and diagnostic services for two major pest detection surveillance programmes: the Ministry for Primary Industry’s High Risk Site Surveillance programme and the New Zealand Forest Owners Association’s Forest Surveillance Programme. The purpose of these programmes is early identification of new-to-New Zealand insects or pathogens, or disease behaviours that could have significant biosecurity implications for New Zealand’s trees and forests.
Areas of research supported by the insect collection include major taxonomic revisions and development of diagnostic tools, such as DNA barcoding for rapid diagnoses of pests discovered as immature life stages.
Stephanie Sopow, Forest Entomologist and collection curator
The BUGS database contains information about all wood and bark boring insects intercepted at New Zealand's border.This database covers the period between 1948 and 1999 and is owned by Scion.
A supplementary database contains information about fungi and egg masses intercepted between 1996 and 2000.
This valuable data is used for risk analysis purposes to determine likely pathways of incursion.
Andrew Cridge, Portfolio Leader, Trees for High Volume Wood Products
National Forestry Herbarium and Database
This herbarium contains plants significant to plantation and indigenous forestry in New Zealand, including a wide range of native and amenity species.
Matt Buys, Plant Taxonomist and herbarium curator
National Forestry Library
Publications and media relating to forestry and wood processing research over the last 75 years are held in the National Forestry Library at Scion. The library contains one of the largest collections of forestry, forest products, biomaterials, and pulp and paper literature in the Southern Hemisphere
Read more about the National Forestry Library
An extensive xylarium – a collection of wood samples consisting thousands of species from all over the world - is cared for at Scion. This collection can be used to compare samples with unknown timbers.
Read more about Scion's Xylarium
Lloyd Donaldson, Microscopist and collection curator