The American Chestnut Foundation and the National Park Service Team Up to Bring Back A National Icon
Washington –-(Ammoland.com)- National parks may once again include a true icon of the natural landscape – the American chestnut tree.
Under a recently signed agreement between the National Park Service and the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF), the two organizations will work together to restore American chestnuts within their native range
“We look forward to partnering with The American Chestnut Foundation to restore an iconic symbol of our eastern forests,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Chestnut trees have been ravaged by a pervasive fungus and are threatened with extinction. We think science has produced a tree that fights back and could be the key to bringing the species back.”
“The national parks offer a unique opportunity to not only restore the American chestnut, but also share the story about this remarkable tree with millions of people,” said TACF President and CEO Bryan Burhans.
The American chestnut, once a dominant tree in eastern U.S. forests, has been hit with a massive die-off caused by the chestnut blight. Only immature chestnut sprouts remain where these magnificent trees once stood. Very few of these sprouts will reach maturity as the vast majority will succumb to the fungus before they have the chance to flower. TACF has developed a hybrid that is genetically 94 percent American chestnut and tolerant of, and potentially resistant to, the fungus.
Over the next five years, TACF and the National Park Service will test the hybrid in carefully defined settings and evaluate the hardiness of the hybrid. The seeds and seedlings that survive will then be used to enhance TACF’s 27-year old breeding program and ultimately support restoration on public and private forest lands within the native range of the chestnut, along the eastern part of the United States.
About the National Park Service
The National Park Service cares for America’s 394 national parks and works with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close to home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
About The American Chestnut Foundation
The return of the American chestnut to its former niche in the Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem is a major restoration project requiring a multi-faceted effort and involves nearly 6,000 members, volunteers, research, and sustained funding. TACF, founded in 1983, is a 501(c)3 organization headquartered in Asheville, NC. For more information on TACF and its national breeding program, visit www.acf.org.