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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

ESF’s American Chestnut Research Featured in New York Times Magazine


The New York Times Magazine highlights the decades-long research of doctors William Powell and Charles Maynard to restore the American chestnut tree to America's landscape. Not only does the article delve into the research, but also the relationships formed along the way including the American Chestnut Foundation, Center of Native Peoples and the Environment, and the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

The tree also has an environmental benefit in this age of climate change:

"Last May, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit, for the first time in human history, 414.8 parts per million. The nonwater weight of the American chestnut, like other trees, is roughly half carbon. Few things you could plant on a piece of land would suck carbon out of the air faster than a growing chestnut tree. With this in mind, an essay last year in The Wall Street Journal suggested, "Let's farm chestnuts again."

The new chestnut will be birthed into an old, broken world. It will have its work cut out for it." (The New York Times Magazine, April 30, 2020 Gabriel Popkin)

Said Powell, "As part of the review process, we expect the USDA APHIS (U.S. Department of Agriculture / Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) will soon begin their 60-day, public, open comment period on our petition for nonregulated status of the blight-tolerant American chestnut trees. This could possibly begin within the next couple weeks. Please keep checking back (to the esf.edu website) so that you can send in a comment supporting the restoration of the American chestnut."

You may have to sign in to The New York Times to access the story.