The Plight of the American Chestnut: Will it ever reestablish within its native range?
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The goal of this project was to launch an in-depth evaluation of Castanea dentata, the American chestnut, in order to develop a well-justified outlook into whether or not the species is likely to regain the capability to regenerate naturally within its native range. Once a dominant species within the hardwood forests of the U.S. East coast, the introduction of the pathogen Cryphonectria parasitica, or the chestnut blight, has led the American chestnut into a state of near-extinction. In order to assess the American chestnut’s prospects for future natural regeneration and spread, several studies were evaluated for a series of important biological and environmental factors concerning the species, including past and current population statistics, effects of the chestnut blight on the tree’s health and natural life cycle, and the effectiveness of current chestnut blight control treatments. While most available population data on the American chestnut depicted a highly threatened species on the brink of extinction, a far more positive outlook for the species was able to be garnered from the examination of studies regarding chestnut blight treatments. Overall, it is found that with modern management treatments, Castanea dentata may very well be likely to surpass the threat of the chestnut blight and regenerate freely in its natural habitat. This infographic was composed as a final assignment for the Spring 2021 Data Collection and Analysis for Honors Qualitative and Quantitative Research (UH-3614) course for Dr. Nikki Lewis. This item is a learning object and should not be treated as a peer-reviewed publication on the topic.