Ohio University Researcher Works To Re-establish American Chestnut in Appalachian Forests.
From the Christmas Song,to Longfellow's "Village Blacksmith," the American Chestnut tree had long been a part of U-S history. Ohio University Forest Ecologist Brian McCarthy says settlers arriving in Ohio during the late 1700's and early 1800's preferred chestnut. The wood was easy to cut and split. Many abandoned cabins built from chestnut can be seen today. The fruit and nut were eaten by many and were highly prized by Native Americans. But, 100 years ago, a blight killed all but the root systems of some 4,000,000,000 American Chestnut trees found in a range that included the eastern half of Ohio. McCarthy is part of the effort to bring back the American Chestnut tree. He tells WOSU's Tom Borgerding, the American Chestnut Foundation has been working for some 40 years, using classical genetic breeding to build a blight resistant American chestnut tree.