The Virginia Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF), a conservation nonprofit, planted over 600 of its most advanced, potentially blight-resistant American chestnut trees at the Georgia-Pacific Big Island, VA mill just northwest of Lynchburg, today. TACF’s partnership with Georgia Pacific is part of a project funded through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) conservation grant program.
“The Virginia Chapter’s partnership with both Georgia Pacific and SFI represents giant step in our chestnut restoration program. We are now testing and evaluating these trees, which are the result of more than 30 years of scientific research, for blight resistance and American growth characteristics,” said Dr. John Scrivani, Virginia Chapter president. Assistance was provided by the Virginia Department of Forestry in preparing the site and raising the seedlings at its Augusta nursery. About 40 volunteers from the Foundation, Georgia-Pacific and the Lynchburg Tree Stewards turned out to help with the planting.
These plantings are part of an overall science program to test and evaluate the level of blight resistance and the growth characteristics of these American chestnut trees. TACF expects that landscape-level reintroduction of the potentially blight-resistant chestnuts could take another 75-100 years.