Blight Resistant Seeds May Be Key to Comeback for American Chestnut Tree
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.
|Plant Breeding Reviews - Chapter 7. Breeding American Chestnuts for Blight Resistance||(publication)|
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