Reintroducing American Chestnut on the Allegheny National Forest
More on American Chestnut
Mature American chestnut trees once dominated forests in the eastern United States but they were killed off by introduced fungal pathogens nearly a century ago. In forests now fragmented by urban development and altered by invasive species plants and insects, how can American chestnut be successfully planted back into the landscape?
We are doing a 10-year study in the Allegheny National Forest to evaluate the effects of light availability and competing seedlings on the long-term survival and growth of 1400 hybrid American chestnuts. We are studying a three-stage shelterwood sequence that is already used to help oak trees grow in mature forests. Merging chestnut reintroduction with other forest management goals like oak restoration will help National Forests make the most of limited resources.
The research will help us better understand:
- how long planted chestnut seedlings can survive in low light conditions while still retaining the ability to respond quickly to increased light when other nearby trees are removed,
- how well chestnuts compete with other vegetation in varying light levels, and
- when it is best to plant chestnut seedlings during the 20-year shelterwood system sequence.
- Leila Pinchot, US Forest Service Northern Research Station, Research Ecologist
- Scott Tepke, Allegheny National Forest
- Scott Schlarbaum, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Allegheny National Forest
- University of Tennessee
- Penn State, Dubois
- The American Chestnut Foundation
- The National Forest Foundation
- The Tidioute Charter School
- Last modified: March 4, 2019