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Chestnut blight, an old problem with new solutions
Date(s) 12/03/2012 - 4:00 p.m.
Location Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center
Presenter William A. Powell, Ph.D. Director, Council on Biotechnology in Forestry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Description Abstract: The American chestnut (Castanea dentate) was once a keystone species in the forests of the eastern United States, accounting for approximately 25% of the mature trees.  A healthy American chestnut tree could grow up to 100 feet tall and measure up to 10 feet in diameter. It was super at producing nuts for wildlife; important for agriculture for human consumption of the nuts; very important for the lumber industry, making a rot-resistant, fast-growing wood product; and it was also important part of our history. The mission of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Center at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry is to conduct basic and applied research that will lead to the development of a blight-resistant American chestnut tree. Our ultimate goal is to reintroduce a population of these resistant trees back into forest ecosystems of New York and then the rest of the eastern United States. The project has evolved from basic research into a multifaceted endeavor which includes such areas as the identification of plant pathogen resistance-enhancing genes, the development of American chestnut tissue culture, field testing chestnut trees from tissue culture, public participation through the identification of rare remnant survival chestnut trees, collection and exchange of viable nuts and the establishment of large restoration plantations throughout New York State. This presentation will provide a brief history of the chestnut blight and current status of the efforts to develop a blight resistant tree that would lead to restoration of this important tree species.
Cost Free

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