How the American Chestnut Acquired and Lost Foundation Species Status
Many of us have heard how chestnuts were a dominant tree in Appalachian forests and in the lives of those living here in the early 1900’s before a disease eliminated the majority of chestnuts. This talk, presented by Dr. John Scrivani, will review the scientific evidence of the pre-blight role of the American chestnut as a foundation species in eastern North American Forests and the current efforts of the American Chestnut Foundation to restore chestnuts to the forests. Dr. Scrivani is the Geospatial Program Manager with the Virginia Information Technology Agency. He has been active in the Virginia Chapter, including serving as president. His talk will cover changes in the range and dominance of the chestnut since the last ice age. Scientific evidence on the ecological functions of the chestnut will be reviewed, especially those that qualify chestnut as a foundation species. The role of humans in the spread and decline of chestnut will be postulated. Statistics and maps will be presented on the past and present ranges, including chestnut sprouts and large survivors. Lastly, implications of these factors to current restoration efforts will be explored.
About The American Chestnut Foundation
In 1983, a dedicated group of scientists formed The American Chestnut Foundation and began a special breeding process which, in 2005, produced the first potentially blight-resistant American-type trees suitable for widespread testing called Restoration Chestnuts 1.0. Now assisted by almost 6,000 members and volunteers in 16 state chapters, TACF has developed a sophisticated chestnut breeding program with over 300 breeding orchards located throughout the eastern US. The mission of The American Chestnut Foundation is to restore the American chestnut tree to our eastern woodlands to benefit our environment, our wildlife and our society. For more information on TACF and its national breeding program, visit www.acf.org or contact TACF Director of Communications Ruth Gregory at (828) 281-0047, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.