A Purdue University researcher is working to restore the American chestnut, an important wildlife tree and timber resource that dominated the landscape from Maine to Mississippi before it was driven to near-extinction by a fungal disease introduced about 100 years ago.
Purdue University researcher Doug Jacobs stands next to an American chestnut. Jacobs is studying how well American chestnut trees grow in plantations, research essential to future reintroduction plans. He also is developing a blight-resistant hybrid to be used in future planting projects. (Purdue University photo/ Bruce Wakeland)
The American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata), whose leaves and nut-bearing structures are shown here, was nearly wiped out in the first half of the 20th century by a fungal infection. A Purdue University researcher is developing trees resistant to the infection in the hope of restoring American chestnut throughout parts the United States. (Purdue University photo/Doug Jacobs)
Doug Jacobs, assistant professor of forestry in the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center at Purdue and director of the Indiana chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, studies how well American chestnut trees grow in plantations, research essential to future reintroduction plans. He also is developing a blight-resistant hybrid to be used in future planting projects.
In a paper to be published in the April issue of Forest Ecology and Management, Jacobs reports that American chestnut in a study plantation grew as much as 77 percent taller and 140 percent wider than two other forest species - black walnut and northern red oak - in the same plantation over an eight-year period.
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