The American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project at ESF
A Forest Reborn
The ESF American Chestnut Project has developed a blight-tolerant American chestnut tree, and is working to restore this iconic and valuable cultural symbol to the forest ecosystems of the eastern United States.
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For information on educational plantings and future distribution.
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A Growing Effort
- We nearly killed off these trees. But biotech can bring them back. (Washington Post, 5/18)
Learn more about how a solution developed by ESF researchers is leading the way in returning the American chestnut to our forests.
Before blight-tolerant Darling 58 chestnuts can be distributed in the US, reviews must be completed by three different regulatory agencies. We have already submitted a "Petition for nonregulated Status" to the USDA-APHIS (read the Executive Summary or the full Petition). Next, the EPA will be reviewing environmental safety and interactions with the blight fungus. And finally, because both people and animals use chestnuts as food, the FDA will review Darling 58 for nutritional safety. A series of articles summarizing various safety tests relevant to the regulatory process were published by The American Chestnut Foundation (read about Nutrition, Wildlife, Plants & Fungi). We don't know exactly how long these reviews will take, especially since this is the first time a transgenic forest tree is being considered for restoration use! But a recent notice from the USDA states they tentatively intend to publish a final decision by August 2023, and we hope that a similar timeframe is realistic for the other agencies as well.
We have started growing 10,000 blight-resistant American chestnut trees to restore the tree to its native range. Help us meet the challenge!