Reforestation and Restoration
The goal of the American Chestnut Foundation is twofold in scope. First, through scientific backcross breeding, we had to produce a tree that had the growth, form and nut production characteristics of the American chestnut, but the blight resistance of the Chinese chestnut. We have made great progress in attaining this part of the goal. Secondly, and equally daunting, we must return this historic tree to its native range.
The original range of American Chestnut was at least 188 million acres. On many of these acres, American chestnut comprised 25 per cent or more of the dominant tree cover. Although the publicly owned land within this range is not insignificant, the vast majority is privately owned, with management goals as varied as the forests themselves.
The American Chestnut Foundation is developing a plan, in association with our partners, to outline a detailed and measurable approach to performing the reforestation process. It addresses issues such as the logistical approach to silviculture and planting, control of stock that we later identify to be undesirable, mobilization and coordination of the network of individuals required to implement the program, and approach to metrics on the testing of viability in real forest conditions. While the plan has been drafted, it has not finished the partner and peer review process.
We recognize that reforestation may rival the breeding program in terms of complexity, and will most certainly require an equal or higher level of engagement on the part of our Chapter (volunteer) forces to implement. The membership and public is clamoring for more information, and you can be assured that we will share that information here, as it as it becomes available.