Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tennessee foresters helping to return chestnuts to American forests

28.09.2009
The American chestnut was a dominant species in eastern U.S.'s forests before a blight wiped it out in the early 1900s. Today it's being returned to the landscape thanks in part to work by a University of Tennessee Forestry alumna and the UT Tree Improvement Program (UT TIP).

Once used extensively for building, for tanning leather, as an important source of food for humans and wildlife, and even as nutritious fodder for hogs, the American chestnut seemed destined to be a memory—a line in a Christmas song. In a few years, the public should be able to once again enjoy the benefits of the forest giant.

UT alumna Stacy Clark, lead researcher with the U.S. Forest Service restoration project, believes the chestnut's revival will become one of the great stories of American conservation. Her work in cooperation with The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and the UT TIP has resulted in test plantings of blight-resistant trees in three southern National Forests. Planted over the winter, the young trees are 94 percent pure American chestnuts. But the remaining 6 percent has blight resistance derived from the Chinese chestnut tree.

Simply planting a Chinese chestnut wouldn't solve the problem, Clark said.
"The American chestnut grows straight and tall, is highly valuable, and has highly flavored edible nuts," she said. "All that differs from the Chinese. We want the trees to look and act like an American chestnut. But they have to have the resistance genes from Chinese chestnut. That's the only way they're going to survive."

The young trees appear healthy and are growing well, but results from tree experiments come slowly, even for a fast-growth tree like the chestnut.

"We'll know in about five years whether or not the trees will be successful in early establishment," she said. "In 10 to 15 years we will know about blight resistance. It takes 10 to 15 years to get significant mast and another 15 years to get harvestable wood."

Making the resistant tree available to the public will take longer still.

"These plantings are not the final answer. We need several more experiments to really test the Foundation's breeding lines and blight resistance."

TACF, which provided the hybrid stock, has produced multiple lines of blight-resistant seedlings. In 2010, partners will plant an additional 900 to 1,000 seedlings of the American chestnut in national forests in Tennessee and Virginia. Plantings will include all generations of the American chestnut—approximately 700 will be blight-resistant.

"We really want to test which are the best families. All that will take many, many years. I'll be retired, probably, before that is done."

Clark works closely with Dr. Scott Schlarbaum, director of UT's 50-year-old Tree Improvement Program. UT TIP provided the necessary infrastructure for the Forestry Service to implement nursery and field studies of chestnut material. UT TIP has provided technical assistance to develop the experimental designs for testing, and they will assist the Forest Service in monitoring the research. They have also provided an avenue for partnerships with state forestry divisions for nursery research.

"Keeping track of the genetic identity of a tree from nursery into the field is a tremendous task," Clark said. "UT has a well-developed program in hardwood seedling restoration. We can tap into that expertise."

Though her work will help re-establish a tree with significant forest and economic potential for Tennessee and other southern states, the long-term influence will go much further.

"The biggest impact is to provide a road map for other species. Many trees have exotic pest concerns. This project provides hope for those other species. If we are successful, this will be one of the greatest triumphs in the history of forest conservation."

Contacts:

Dr. Scott Schlarbaum, UT Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, 865-974-7993

Margot Emery, UTIA Marketing & Communications Services, 865-974-7141, memery@tennessee.edu

Margot Emery | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tennessee.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines
11.06.2018 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Where are Europe’s last primary forests?
29.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New ID pictures of conducting polymers discover a surprise ABBA fan

18.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?

18.06.2018 | Automotive Engineering

Scientists predict a new superhard material with unique properties

18.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>