Silvicultural and logistical considerations associated with the pending reintroduction of American chestnutThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Traditional breeding for blight resistance has led to the potential to restore American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.) to Eastern United States forests using a blight resistant hybrid chestnut tree. With prospects of pending wide-scale reintroduction, restoration strategies based on ecological and biological characteristics of the species are needed. American chestnut was adapted to a relatively wide range of site conditions, has the ability to persist under shaded environments yet respond quickly to release, and exhibits rapid growth and competitive ability. These characteristics are discussed in reference to potential for hybrid chestnut regeneration to spread into adjacent forest stands. The use of a hybrid for American chestnut reintroduction may prompt a variety of ecological concerns. Additionally, it is likely that many hybrid chestnut plantings will result in introduction of hybrid chestnut to areas outside its original range. Limitations in genetic fitness, potential for mutation of the blight pathogen, and threats from other exotic pests and pathogens will serve as continual barriers to chestnut restoration.