External Grants Program

TACF is pleased to announce its 2016 request for research proposals. We will entertain any research proposal concerned with the myriad of aspects involved in chestnut restoration that address our core mission.

Download the 2016 TACF Research Proposal Guidelines

Proposals must be sent via email attachment to Regional Science Coordinator Sara Fitzsimmons (sff3@psu.edu) by 5:00pm, Friday, August 12, 2016.

Charlie Chestnut
Dr. David Loftis, USDA Forest Service scientist, at the site of one experiment to test chestnut reintroduction in a cove hardwood forest.

Cryphonectria parasitica, the chestnut blight fungus, is grown and stored in TACF laboratories. In a process called inoculation, these strains are used to test TACF breeding stock for blight resistance.


Previously Funded Proposals

Providing the Seeds for Research

The External Grants Program of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is a valuable tool in stimulating research on chestnut trees by distinguished scientists. These grants, while modest in size, have provided seed money for preliminary research that, in turn, has attracted more substantial grants from both government and private agencies.

The following are just two of the dozens of research programs that have been funded in recent years, and show how their results have benefited TACF's efforts to restore the American chestnut tree to the forests of the eastern United States.

Composition, structure, and genetics of a distinct American chestnut stand in Wisconsin
Principal Investigators: Carolyn Keiffer, Brian McCarthy, and Steven Rogstad
In 2000, TACF provided $9,500 to three scientists to study the ecology and genetics of the largest surviving American chestnut grove in the United States, which is in West Salem, Wisconsin. As a direct result of TACF's grant, the researchers were able to procure an additional grant of $50,000 from the Ohio Biotechnology Consortium. Keiffer, McCarthy, and Rogstad have set up 12 test plots in this grove of 6,000 American chestnut trees. Their goal is to determine how chestnut became dominant in the stand in competition with oaks and other trees. Amazingly, Dr. Rogstad found that most of the 6,000 trees are descended from only two of nine original American chestnut trees planted by farmers along a fence row.

Kentucky Silviculture Project
Principal Investigators: Charles Rhoades, Jeffrey Lewis, and David Loftis
In 2002, TACF provided $7680 to three scientists to conduct experiments to determine the best way of planting TACF's blight-resistant American chestnut trees so that they will survive and flourish in forest conditions. Foresters know that different species of trees require different conditions for re-establishment. Some require dry sites, others moist sites. Some seedlings do better in full sun, while others get their root systems established in shady conditions before being exposed to full sun. Because the initial supplies of TACF's improved seed will be limited, it is important that they receive the best chance for growth in forest conditions, to achieve TACF's ultimate goal of "Restoration of the King of the Forest." Dr. David Loftis, USDA Forest Service scientist, at the site of one experiment to test chestnut reintroduction in a cove hardwood forest.

This team of distinguished scientists conducted one of the periodic external reviews of TACF's national science program. Such reviews give TACF an independent perspective on the various components of its chestnut restoration program and help strengthen its scientific effort. Shown here is the 2006 Scientific Review team in Meadowview, Virginia.