Intention: Homage to Castanea

Let’s dance for the American Chestnut!
Castanea dentata, the America Chestnut. Before the coming of the chestnut blight to the American continent in 1904, the American Chestnut was over 50% of the biomass of some eastern forests. Trees towered and dropped their calorie-rich nuts across the forest floor. Now the tree can hardly be found.
For the latter half of the 20th century, attempts have been made to develop blight-resistant American Chestnuts. A number of groups have tried, with varying levels of success.
Recently a GMO variety called Darling 58 was created by the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry that uses the oxalate oxidase gene from wheat to degrade the oxalic acid produced by the chestnut blight, and a variety of this cultivar is under review for public use.
Additionally, the American Chestnut Foundation’s (ACF) backcross breeding program has been producing Chinese Chestnut and American backcross varieties that aim to re-breed American chestnut characteristics into blight-resistant trees. The ACF’s backcross program is nearing a point where they will be distributing seeds as their breeding program is proven and ramps up seed production.
In March of this year, Bountiful Cities and The American Chestnut Foundation will collaborate to plant two-three American Chestnut backcrosses in the West Asheville park! You can come help prep the site as well! Stay tuned for details 🙂
Also, donate to The American Chestnut Foundation to support their backcross program!

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