Faculty in the News In the News

September 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

Farm and Dairy Quotes McCarthy on Chestnut’s Chances

A Farm and Dairy article on “American chestnut on the comeback trail” quotes Dr. Brian McCarthy, Professor of Forest Ecology and Associate Dean for Faculty, Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

Dr. Brian C. McCarthy, an environmental and plant biology professor at Ohio University and member of the American Chestnut Foundation board of directors, may be one of those people.

The foundation has been actively trying to reintroduce the American chestnut as a forest tree since the 1980s.

“We initially crossed with a Chinese chestnut, then took those offspring and crossed them back with American seedlings,” McCarthy said. “All offspring are injected with the blight — they try to kill all the progeny. It’s called ‘directional selection’ and is sort of natural selection helped by humans.”

The result, after three generations, is a chestnut tree that is “15/16ths American,” McCarthy said.

The foundation, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be test planting 750 of these seedlings Oct. 25 in the Wayne National Forest in Nelsonville, Ohio.

“We are at a landmark point now,” McCarthy said. “Our goal is to get a blight-resistant American chestnut onto the landscape that is able to survive on its own.”

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