American Chestnut: A Primer on an Eastern Forest Icon

Lead Author: Dr. Steve Bratkovich

Publish date: 10.21.2015


At the turn of the 20th century, an estimated 4 billion American chestnut trees thrived in the eastern forests of the United States. American chestnut had numerous beneficial qualities including providing wood products and food for humans, livestock, and wildlife. Then in the early 1900s a deadly fungus struck. By 1950 the American chestnut was essentially eliminated as a forest canopy tree. Today, efforts are underway to return this tree to the landscape and restore the many environmental and societal benefits it provided.