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Individual Highlight

Blight Resistant Seeds May Be Key to Comeback for American Chestnut Tree

Establishing a blight resistant planting at Buck Creek on the Hoosier National Forest in Spring, 2012. James McKenna, Forest ServiceSnapshot : Restoration plantings poise this once mighty tree species for a comeback

Principal Investigators(s) :
Michler, Charles H. 
Research Location : Midwestern states
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 65


The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) provided the most blight resistant seed from its breeding program and these plantings represent an important next step to test blight resistance in the field and to understand the ecological steps necessary for successful American chestnut restoration. The American chestnut was the dominant tree species in the Appalachian Mountains before an introduced fungus significantly reduced its population and changed the way of life for early human inhabitants who relied on this tree for food, shelter, and animal production.

The Northern Research Station�s Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC) and TACF have begun two restoration plantings on the Wayne and Hoosier National Forests. National forest staff provided the land, site preparation, and field crews; TACF provided the seed; Indiana State Nursery at Vallonia provided the nursery culture; HTIRC staff from the Forest Service, Purdue University, and the Indiana Chapter of TACF helped to coordinate and plant the initial restoration sites in the Midwest. If successful, these plantings will lead to reintroduction of an iconic eastern forest tree species that existed before an exotic pathogen nearly extirpated it.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • National Forest Systems
  • Wayne and Hoosier National Forests
  • Indiana State Nursery
  • Purdue University
  • The American Chestnut Foundation, Indiana Chapter