Restoring the American Chestnut - not a plea for money
This is about a crowdfunding campaign, but I’m not here to ask you to contribute. I’m just here to ask you to spread the word.
Also, it includes Science.
A lot of people don’t realize that the forests in North America don’t look the way they should.
Until the 20th century, the American chestnut made up about 1/4 of the trees in eastern North American forests. It was a keystone species. Its nuts fed bears, deer, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and wild turkeys—not to mention people—and its leaf litter supported the ground plants, bugs and larvae that our songbirds and fish ate.
In 1904, the chestnut blight arrived in the US, and almost all the American chestnuts died. Over 9 million square miles of them. Without this tree, the ecology of the eastern forests is broken. Native animals can’t find the right foods to eat. The chemical balance of the soil is changing and supporting the wrong kinds of plants. People have forgotten this tree should be there, but they’re living the consequences of its loss.
Now here’s the deal: researchers from SUNY-ESF (that’s an environmental science college) have worked for 25 years to develop a true, non-hybrid blight-resistant American chestnut tree…and as of this month, November 2014, they’ve declared success.
The tree has to go through a regulatory approval process, but while they wait for that to clear, they’re planning to grow 10,000 baby blight-resistant American chestnuts that can be distributed throughout the tree’s native range, and begin restoring the chestnut to its native range.
Chestnuts spread easily. In 50 years, 10,000 trees will become 200,000. In 100 years, 200,000 trees will become 4 million, and can right the wrong of one of the greatest, and quietest, ecological disasters the world has ever seen.
Hence, the American Chestnut Project’s crowdfunding campaign: http://www.esf.edu/chestnutchallenge
You can donate if you like, but more importantly, please just tell eerybody about it! The project doesn’t just need money; it needs public awareness, and support, and for people to plant American chestnut trees so that when the blight-resistant trees are ready, they’ll be able to pollinate and produce the next generation.