Re-establishing American Chestnut on Mined Lands in the Appalachian Coalfields

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Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative


American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was formerly a major component of forests throughout the Appalachian coalfield and beyond. Chestnut’s strong, lightweight wood was naturally rot-resistant, making it a preferred timber tree for many purposes. Unlike many other nut-producing trees that flower early in the year, American chestnuts flower in June and July, so they were less susceptible to a late freeze or frost that could damage the flowers. Due in part to its late flowering, American chestnuts produced a reliable and abundant nut crop that was an important source of nutrition for wildlife, livestock, and humans. However, American chestnut has suffered severe decline throughout the USA; today, few living and mature American chestnut trees remain. This Forest Reclamation Advisory describes efforts to develop new American chestnut varieties, and reclamation and planting techniques for chestnut on mined lands.