I was reading an interesting article in the local paper about the American chestnut restoration efforts. The article by Alice Felts, in the Fauquier Times Democrat, discussed efforts by the students, teachers, and arborists to re-introduce a new chestnut tree that is 15/16th’s American chestnut, and 1/16th Asian chestnut. The Asian chestnut was the source of the blight that killed all the American chestnuts. As of this writing, the article was not up on the web.
This introduction seems a bit like allergy treatments. They inject you with a bit of the thing that is the problem so that a natural immunity can occur. The efforts by The American Chestnut Foundation, http://www.acf.org/ is very interesting as to how to ever so slightly alter the genetics of the tree to allow it to grow once again. The American chestnut has been described as the “Redwood of the East”, a giant of a tree that created huge eco-systems almost single-handedly. Its nuts fed whole communities of wildlife, and its wood a prime source of naturally rot resistant building material.
I’m thinking I need some chestnuts in my forest………
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