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ESF Obtains $400,000 for Forestry Research, American Chestnut Program


SYRACUSE, N. Y. - The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) has received $250,000 to help support the New York Center for Forestry Research and Development and $150,000 to establish a program to help save the blighted American chestnut tree.

The college obtained the funds through the efforts of state Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C, Syracuse).

"The college would like to thank Senator DeFrancisco for securing these much-needed funds and supporting these very important projects," said Dr. Ross S. Whaley, college president.

"I am pleased to be able to provide funding to support programs administered by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry," DeFrancisco said. "These are just two of their many worthwhile projects, and I hope that the funds will be of assistance."

The larger portion of the funding will support the center's efforts to conduct research relevant to the needs of New York's forest industry. The center's focus is applied research aimed at contributing to the economic well-being of the citizens of New York. Its mission includes keeping the state's forest owners and professionals informed about ways to manage and enhance New York's forest resources.

"Recent center projects include a rapid response of college personnel in assisting with last winter's ice storm damage in the North Country and work with Best Management Practices confirming the compatibility of proper timber harvest and watershed-water quality production," said NYCFRD Director Edwin H. White, who is also dean of research at ESF.

The remaining $150,000 will be used to establish an American Chestnut Program at the college. The research and restoration program will provide for studies that could lead to the development of new varieties of blight-resistant American chestnut trees. The same technique, and possibly the same genes, could also save other essential and naturally valuable species of trees.

"Since 1988, with the help of the New York state chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, we have focused on applied research studies involving rooting of shoots, acclimatization of these plantlets to real world conditions, and now testing them in the field," said ESF Professor Charles Maynard.

Maynard is a specialist in forest genetics and tissue culture, who has done extensive research directed toward saving the stately trees. "These additional funds will allow us to stay focused on restoring the American chestnut," he said.