Collectively on the best way to revive the chestnut

Posted by Jeff on Dec 2nd 2020 at 6:06 am in Conservation | 0 comments | Last change: December 1st, 2020

On November 3, 2020, around forty people from the USDA Forest Service and the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) gathered virtually. It was the second biennial working meeting between TACF and SRS.

The two organizations have been working together on the restoration of American chestnuts (Castanea dentata) since the 1990s. In 2017 and 2019, they committed to a two-year plan that strengthens the partnership.

During the meeting, foresters, researchers, and organizational leaders shared the latest advances in genetics and breeding, restoration research, and disease screening.

TACF has been working to restore the American chestnut since 1983. Their scientific strategy is called 3BUR – a reference to the three nutritious nuts of the chestnut in a prickly ridge. TACF uses traditional approaches (arboriculture), integrated management approaches (biocontrol) and powerful new molecular tools (biotechnology).

Two main diseases decimated the American chestnut: chestnut rot (Cryphonectria parasitica) and Phytophthora root rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi). Chinese chestnut is disease resistant. Chinese chestnut and American chestnut have been backcrossed – a breeding process that aims to restore the woody shape of the American chestnut while preserving the Chinese chestnut genes for disease resistance.

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