We are planting hybrid chestnut trees in forest gaps at Duke Farm, Hillsborough, NJ. The goal is to determine if forest gaps, created by removal of non-native species, provide a viable re-entry location for chestnuts back into northeastern forests. American chestnut, once a dominant member of regional forests, was virtually eliminated by the non-native fungal disease, Chryphonectria parasitica. American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was a great shade tree, a valuable timber species, annually produced plentiful and sweet tasting seeds, and provided habitat and food for many animal species. Breeding efforts by The American Chestnut Foundation have produced hybrid trees that are 15/16 American and 1/16 Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima), combining American chestnut form, height and nut quality with Chinese chestnut blight resistance. thee have been planted in experimental plots and are being monitored for relative performance and growth. Additional goals of the project are to identify hybrid families with the best performance in forests, to educate the public about the devastating effects of invasive pests, and to inform land managers about the potential of chestnut restoration and ecological restoration in general.Blueberries (Vaccinium spp., family Ericaceae) are not only an important agricultural crop in the United States, but are also important native shrubs found in northeastern hardwood forests. The New York Metropolitan Flora Project has found that nearly all members of the heath family (Ericaceae) in the New York metropolitan area have been sharply decreasing in range size, indicating a decrease in abundance as well, over the past 100 years. Additionally, due to morphological, ecological, and genetic differences within the genus, the taxonomy of Vaccinium, and highbush blueberry in particular, is not well established. Our research will examine the highbush blueberry species complex to determine taxonomic differences, if any, as well as ecological differences between diploid and tetraploid cytotypes within the species. Applications of these findings are critical to the ecological restoration community and to the agricultural community to determine which genotypes for improving the nation's natural resources and agricultural stocks are needed. These investigations will assist in determining the cytotypes most useful for sustainable and resilient restored populations of this important wetland species, as well as inform commercial and home growers of the best cytotypes for local conditions. Additionally, these studies will add to our understanding of the putative ecological advantages of polyploidy, which occurs in about 50% of angiosperm species worldwide.
|Effective start/end date||3/1/13 → 9/30/17|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))