An Endangered Species
The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once one of North America’s most important forest trees. The wood, easily worked and durable, was used for interior trim, furniture, as well as for posts and fencing. Some split rail fences constructed early in this century are sill standing. The annual chestnut crop made it important to the forest community, providing a reliable food source for wildlife as well as early settlers. Although the nuts are smaller than other kinds of chestnut, they are very delicious. True chestnuts are sometimes confused with Horse chestnuts and Buckeyes (Aesculus species) which have compound leaves and inedible nuts.
However, after the 1940′s, this species was devastated by the introduction of a plant pathogen from Asia that caused the plant disease called Chestnut blight. Today, there are only several hundred sites left in southern Ontario where Chestnut trees and saplings still survive, from Windsor through London to Oakville and south to Lake Erie.
"The American Chestnut is listed as an endangered species under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. This Act protects the tree from being collected, killed or harmed. The Natural Heritage component of the Provincial Policy Statement under Ontario’s Planning Act provides for the protection of significant habitat of threatened species."
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Various reports on the status of restoration efforts, tree population surveys, DNA analysis, breeding and propagation programs, etc.
The American Chestnut
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