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Forests 2015, 6(10), 3514-3527; doi:10.3390/f6103514

Evaluating the Use of Tree Shelters for Direct Seeding of Castanea on a Surface Mine in Appalachia

1
Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
2
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland Extension, Princess Anne, MD 21853, USA
3
Office of Surface Mining, London, KY 40741, USA
4
The American Chestnut Foundation, Hope, IN 47246, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Phillip G. Comeau and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 4 August 2015 / Revised: 28 August 2015 / Accepted: 25 September 2015 / Published: 7 October 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [294 KB, uploaded 7 October 2015]

Abstract

American chestnut (Castanea dentata), once a primary constituent of the eastern hardwood forest ecosystem, was nearly extirpated from the forest canopy by the accidental introduction of chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica). An intensive breeding program has sought to breed blight resistance from Chinese chestnut into American chestnuts, while maintaining as much of the desirable American chestnut phenotypes as possible. Previous studies suggest that these blight resistant American chestnuts, termed “restoration chestnuts”, are capable of thriving on reclaimed surface mines. We direct seeded pure Chinese, pure American, and three backcross lines into brown sandstone minesoil on a mine site in Pike County, KY. To investigate the effects of tree sheltering on survival and growth, we installed tree shelters on half the plots, and left the rest of the plots unsheltered. Results indicated that shelters were highly effective at reducing initial mortality. In addition, while pure Chinese chestnut survival was highest, the three backcross lines have also survived well on this site. Our study demonstrates that American, Chinese, and backcrossed chestnuts can survive through five growing seasons on reclaimed surface mines with the use of tree shelters. View Full-Text
Keywords: American chestnut; mined land reforestation; tree shelters; herbivory American chestnut; mined land reforestation; tree shelters; herbivory
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Barton, C.; Miller, J.; Sena, K.; Angel, P.; French, M. Evaluating the Use of Tree Shelters for Direct Seeding of Castanea on a Surface Mine in Appalachia. Forests 2015, 6, 3514-3527.

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