Fulbright Grant Funds Three-Month U.S. Visit by Portuguese Researcher

To help keep the European chestnut from suffering the same plight as the American chestnut, Portuguese scientist and Fulbright grant recipient Rita Costa recently spent three months working at the U.S. Forest Service Southern Institute of Forest Genetics (SIFG) in Saucier, Mississippi, and the Forest Health Research and Education Center (FHC), Department of Forestry, at the University of Kentucky.…  More 

Where the Not-So-Mighty Chestnut Still Grows

A recent study by U.S. Forest Service, university, and state agency researchers provides baseline information on contemporary populations of American chestnut needed to support restoration of the tree to the forests it once dominated. Biologist Harmony Dalgleish from the College of William and Mary served as lead author on the research published in the journal…  More 

American Chestnut, Past and Future

The Silvics of American Chestnut , a general technical report (GTR) available from the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), describes the habitat, life history, special uses, genetics, and restoration of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata). The publication is the result of collaboration between G. Geoff Wang, the lead author, his colleagues at Clemson University, and…  More 

Dreaming of Giants: The Future of American Chestnut Restoration

For almost a hundred years, foresters have dreamed of the American chestnut’s return. “As the 21st century unfolds, the chestnut restoration goal may be closer to reality,” says U.S. Forest Service Southern Reseearch Station (SRS) scientist Stacy Clark. “Chestnut restoration will require an integrated approach that uses traditional breeding, advanced seedling technology, and forest management,” says…  More 

Southern Institute of Forest Genetics Hosts International Student Visitor

Carmen Santos, a Ph.D. student from Lisbon, Portugal, recently traveled to Saucier, Mississippi, for an internship with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS). Santos will be working with C. Dana Nelson, project leader and research geneticist at the SRS Southern Institute of Forest Genetics, and biological sciences lab technician Chuck Burdine. “We have…  More 

The Emerging Chromosomes of the American and Chinese Chestnuts

For 30 years now, scientists have worked to lend the natural blight-resistance of Chinese chestnut trees to the American chestnut. With the advent of molecular biology, the possibility of transferring specific genes that may confer blight resistance is a tantalizing promise, but as Nurul Faridi, a U.S. Forest Service research geneticist explains, “There is a…  More 

Growing Chestnut Trees and Hope in Western North Carolina

Working with others, the U.S. Forest Service may be one step closer to restoring the American chestnut tree to the mountains of western North Carolina. Beginning in 2009, agency researchers and partners planted close to 1,000 potentially blight-resistant American chestnut trees in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, as well as in national forests…  More 

How to Grow American Chestnut

American chestnut thrived in eastern North American forests for thousands of years, but in the 20th century, an exotic fungus almost eliminated the species. To date, chestnut restoration has mostly meant breeding blight-resistant trees. Now, thanks to a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service, The American Chestnut Foundation, and institutions like the University of Tennessee…  More 

New Tools to Bring Back the American Chestnut

It’s been a long time now since American chestnut trees dominated the forest canopies of the East, so long that there are few people alive who remember stands with trees nearly the size of redwoods or the pungent smell of chestnuts in bloom that filled the forests before the blight came. It’s taken almost 30…  More 

Chestnut Blight

Chestnut blight, the disease that decimated the American chestnut trees of the eastern U.S. in the early 1900s, is mainly caused by Cryphonectria parasitica, a member of the largest group of fungi, the ascomycetes (sac fungi). C. parasitica enters through wounds and cracks in chestnut bark, causing dead areas on bark called cankers. Once introduced, the…  More