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2012 FLM Nov / Dec Page 17 [Free Version] Chestnut page 5
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through means that include forestation. Chestnuts thrive in the loose, sandy soils left after mining.

The chestnut foundation is working with mining and energy companies such as Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Peabody Energy Corp., and American Electric Power Co. to plant the chestnuts, said the foundation’s chief scientist, Fred Hebard. The nuts are expensive, but industry has pledged to plant more of them when the prices fall, said Patrick Angel, senior forester for the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, which oversees the restoration of mine lands.

 Wood companies including MeadWestvaco Corp., Arborgen Inc., and Georgia-Pacific Corp. also have donated land to plant Restoration Chestnuts, Mr. Hebard said.

“The tree represents an important part of our American heritage,” said Meg Gallagher, a spokeswoman for Peabody, which has planted 250 Restoration Chestnuts on former mine lands in Indiana since 2011.

The breeding techniques used to save the chestnut hold promise for other hardwood trees succumbing to pests, including the American elm, white walnut and eastern hemlock.

“We have to be proactive,” said Steven Handel, a professor of plant ecology at Rutgers University, who is researching blightresistant chestnuts planted at Duke Farms, a nature sanctuary in New Jersey. “The statement that nature takes care of itself — if only it was true.”

 

Write to Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com For more information about the restoration of the American chestnut, visit this U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station website: www.srs.fs.usda.gov/uplandhardwood/ americanchestnut.html. Reprinted by permission of the Wall Street Journal, Copyright © 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. License number 3010220622593.

 



 

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