Partners in the Restoration Effort
The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF)
TACF has led the effort to breed a blight-resistant American chestnut tree for restoration to its native range in the eastern United States. TACF scientists, orchard managers, and volunteers established and maintain research farms where they have conducted and tested a back-cross breeding technique to produce blight-resistant seedlings.
U.S. Forest Service
Forest Health and Protection (FH&P) - The Southern Region's Forest Health and Protection division has funded TACF for the past six years in support of the back-cross breeding program. Pathologists have worked with partners in choosing and testing the planting sites for suitability.
Southern Research Station (SRS) - Research Work Unit 4157 of the SRS has led the research testing for field implementation of the first planting of blight-resistant trees. The SRS has coordinated with the national forests, the Forest Health and Protection division in the Southern Region, the University of Tennessee, and TACF to establish nursery and forest plantings to determine if the advanced breeding material from TACF will be able to thrive and compete in a natural forest setting while maintaining blight-resistance.
Southern Region National Forests – Silviculturists and the Region 8 geneticist from the U.S. Forest Service have worked with SRS, TACF, FH&P and TIP to determine which national forests and sites would be best suited to plant the blight-resistant seedlings. National forest personnel funded a state nursery to grow the seedlings, prepared sites for planting, helped implement plantings, and will help monitor the plantings of blight-resistant seedlings. They will choose and prepare additional sites for future plantings.
University of Tennessee, Tree Improvement Program (TIP)
The Tree Improvement Program provided the necessary infrastructure for SRS to implement nursery and field studies of chestnut material. This program has provided technical assistance to develop the experimental designs for testing. They also will assist SRS in monitoring the research and provide an avenue for partnerships with state forestry divisions for nursery research.