Humble beginnings with Nikolaos Nantsis, James Bertsch, Stephen Borghardt, Rob Vasiluth, Marshall Brown, et al.
These tiny sprouts are those of Long Island wild type American Chestnut growing in pots in my back yard. Thank you to Niko for finding them!
More on this later, but Save the Great South Bay hopes that this species can return to its former ubiquity (along with the American Chestnut Foundation and groups like Seatuck Environmental Association).
Chestnut was once the dominate forest tree species across the eastern United States. These magnificent and ecologically important trees were stricken by Chestnut blight (a type of fungus imported from Southeast Asia) in the early 1900s. They were unfortunately decimated.
There are still root suckers and small trees growing all over the place–some of which produce chestnuts. Sad thing is–they all eventually succumb to the blight.
Hard part is done. All we have to do now is: create mother orchards and care for them until they produce nuts, plant individual trees in yards, hope that the Federal administrative agencies approve transgenetic/blight resistant chestnuts which have already been developed, pollinate our trees with blight resistant pollen, test seedlings for blight resistance, and plant blight resistant seedlings to restore Long Island’s upland forest habitat. ????
Will keep you guys posted as this develops.