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Chestnut Blight

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Chestnut blight
Chestnut blight symptoms - Photo by Robert L. Anderson; USDA. Forest Service
Scientific Name: 
Cryphonectria parasitica (Murrill) Barr (formerly known as Endothia parasitica) (ITIS)
Common Name: 
Chestnut blight, chestnut bark disease
Native To: 
Date of U.S. Introduction: 
First discovered in 1904 (Anagnostakis 1997)
Means of Introduction: 
Introduced on nursery stock imported from Asia (Anagnostakis 1997)
Impact: 
Fungal disease of chestnut trees (Castanea spp.) that virtually eliminated mature American chestnuts (Castanea dentata) from the U.S. (Griffin 2000)
Current U.S. Distribution: 
Widespread throughout the U.S.

Spotlights

  • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a petition from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) seeking deregulation of an American chestnut variety developed using genetic engineering for fungal resistance to chestnut blight. The petition will be available for public review and comment for 60 days. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts to assist in our assessment of the petition as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act. The petition and Federal Register notice can be viewed on the News page of the BRS website, and members of the public will be able to submit comments through October 19, 2020, at www.regulations.gov.

  • USDA. Forest Service.

    Sometimes reaching a height of more than 100 feet tall with trunk diameters often well over 10 feet, the American chestnut was the giant of the eastern U.S. forests. There were once billions of them and their range stretched from Georgia and Alabama to Michigan, but the majestic tree was gone before forest science existed to document its role in the ecosystem. Notes left by early foresters including Gifford Pinchot, the founder and first chief of the USDA Forest Service, suggest that its ecological role was as impressive as the tree's size. Mature American chestnuts have been virtually extinct for decades. The tree's demise started with something called ink disease in the early 1800s, which steadily killed chestnut in the southern portion of its range. The final blow happened at the turn of the 20th century when a disease called chestnut blight swept through Eastern forests. But, after decades of work breeding trees, The American Chestnut Foundation, a partner in the Forest Service's effort to restore the tree, is close to being able to make a blight-resistant American chestnut available.

  • USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

    The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was a keystone tree species in the eastern U.S., once found in the forest overstory from Maine to Georgia. The loss of the "mighty giant" to chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica), a fungal disease accidentally imported from Asia in the early 1900s, reduced the once dominant chestnuts to remnant understory sprouts. After eight years of field testing, USDA Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark and her colleagues evaluated blight resistance and survival of the backcross-generation American chestnut seedlings, known as BC3F3. Their results were published in Forest Ecology and Management.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

Images

Videos

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Chestnut Blight.

Partnership
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
Nature Conservancy. Don't Move Firewood.
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Texas State University System. Texas Invasive Species Institute.
Federal Government
USDA. FS. Northern Research Station.
DOI. NPS. Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
International Government
Natural Resources Canada. Canadian Forest Service.

Forestry Commission (United Kingdom). Forest Research.

State and Local Government
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Academic

eXtension.

Pennsylvania State University. School of Forest Resources.

Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.
Professional

Citations