The American Chestnut Foundation

The American Chestnut Foundation

The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is a nonprofit American organization dedicated to breeding a blight-resistant American chestnut tree and then repopulating American forests with this new chestnut.

The Foundation aims to restore the American chestnut tree to its native range within the woodlands of the eastern United States, i.e. its range before the chestnut blight. The first step is to create a blight-resistant American chestnut by a methodical, multi-generation program of "backcrossing" blight resistance from the Chinese chestnut into the American chestnut tree, while maintaining the American chestnut’s characteristics. A blight-resistant American chestnut tree is expected to be ready for forest test-planting in 2006 and for wider distribution within the next decade.

The American Chestnut Foundation differs from the American Chestnut Cooperators Foundation, which is attempting to re-establish the species using pure American chestnut genetic stock.

TACF was founded in 1983 by a group of prominent plant scientists, including Nobel Prize-winning plant breeder Dr. Norman Borlaug; Dr. Peter Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden; independent chestnut researcher Philip Rutter; and the late Dr. Charles Burnham, the eminent Minnesota corn geneticist. In 1989 TACF established the Wagner Research Farm, a breeding station in Meadowview, Virginia, to execute the backcross breeding program. A second research farm in Meadowview was donated to TACF in 1995, and a third Meadowview farm was purchased in 2002.

As of late 2005, TACF’s Meadowview Research Farms have over 17,000 trees at various stages of breeding, planted on more than 60 acres of land. TACF also has chapters in the majority of the Eastern United States, whose members volunteer to find and pollinate local chestnut trees, thus adding to the genetic diversity of the backcross program.

External links

* [ The American Chestnut Foundation]

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