American Chestnut Trees Return
In 2014 Greenwich Land Trust (GLT) was approved by The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) to receive 400 research seedlings. The mighty chestnut, once a dominant tree of Eastern United States forests, was virtually eradicated by an Asian blight introduced over a century ago. The demise of these “redwoods of the East” eliminated a vital source of wildlife habitat, timber, and forest canopy. Today, very few American chestnuts remain, and those that survive do not reach their former stature.
After several decades of research to overcome the blight pathogen, The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) has propagated trees with qualities of the American chestnut and with disease resistance genes found in their Asian “cousins.” TACF now works with conservation organizations and other large landowners to further this research and establish local populations of disease-resistant American chestnuts.
In partnership with The American Chestnut Foundation and the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, GLT planted 400 American chestnut seedlings on November 15, 2014 in GLT’s new American Chestnut Sanctuary, an area with ideal conditions for American chestnut trees. The seedlings are protected from deer and voles with a perimeter fence and tree tubes. Water, nutrient and pest management will be performed by GLT staff and volunteers.
GLT’s American Chestnut Sanctuary is Fairfield County’s first reforestation site for the American chestnut. This site assists TACF’s research efforts and eventually will produce seed for local chestnut plantings. The Greenwich Land Trust is grateful to the Greenwich Tree Conservancy and private donors for supporting this project and to TACF for providing this opportunity for our community.