2012 American Chestnut Summit

The 2012 American Chestnut Summit brought together scientists, private landowners, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts and industry professionals to share the current state of knowledge of the American chestnut, and inspire reintroduction of this species to eastern forests. The conference provided a unique opportunity to enhance awareness of the importance of American chestnut restoration, explore partnerships, exchange information, and discuss this exciting project with a wide audience.


Table of Contents

I. Official Proceedings of the 2012 American Chestnut Summit

II. Presentations

A. Opening General Session

B. Track 1 - Chestnut Genetics and Diseases

C. Track 2 - Chestnut Ecology and Restoration

D. Track 3 - Culture and History of Chestnuts

E. Practical Skills Workshop

III. Critical Needs Workshop

IV. Poster Session



I. Official Proceedings

Proceedings include descriptions of speaker presentations and poster abstracts.

Download the Official Proccedings


II. Presentations

Opening General Session

The American Chestnut - Genetic, Ecological, and Strategic Aspects of Resistance and Restoration

Dr. Rob Doudrick, Director, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station


Chestnut Breeding and Restoration: Elements of Success

Dr. Kim Steiner, Professor of Forest Biology, Penn State University



Keynote Speaker: Nature on the Move - How Important are We?

Dr. Patrick McMillian, Director, Campbell Museum of Natural History at Clemson University

Track 1 - Chestnut Genetics and Diseases

Beyond Hybrid Backcross Breeding

Dr. Scott Merkle, Professor of Forest Biology, University of Georgia

Hypovirulence of Cryphonectria parasitica, the Fungus that Causes Chestnut Blight

Dr. Bradley Hillman, Professor of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers University

Phytophthora cinnamomi and the American Chestnut: A Chance Encounter with Unfortunate Consequences!

Dr. Steven Jeffers, Professor and Extension Specialist, Clemson University

Track 2 - Chestnut Ecology and Restoration

Opportunities for Public-facing Institutions to Contribute Research and Engage People in Reviving Our Lost Legacy

Dr. Nicole Cavender, Vice President of Science and Conservation, The Morton Arboretum

How Can We Restore Chestnut: Forest Management Approaches to Long-term Restoration

Dr. Stacy Clark, Research Forester, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Center

American Chestnut and Eastern Forest Wildlife Communities

Dr. Bill Healy, Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service

Exploring the "Fit" Between Genes and the Environment

Dr. Paul Schaberg, Plant Physiologist, USDA Forest Service

Track 3 - Culture and History of Chestnuts

The Chestnut Trade in Southwestern Virginia

Dr. Ralph Lutts, Faculty Member, Goddard College


Finding Chestnuts in North American History

Dr. Don Davis, Governmental Affairs Representative,TACF

Finding Chestnuts in North American History talk

Chestnuts - What Was Lost May Come Again

Doug Gillis, Carolinas Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation


Practical Skills Workshop

Introduction to Planting and Growing Chestnuts

Kendra Gurney, New England Regional Science Coordinator, TACF

Introduction to Wood Identification

Developed by Lee Stover; presented by Sara Fitzsimmons, North Central Regional Science Coordinator, TACF

How to Identify and Manage Pests and Diseases of Chestnuts

Tom Saielli, SE Regional Science Coordinator, TACF


III. Critical Needs Workshop

Moderated by Nancy Walters, USDA Forest Service

The Restoration of the American chestnut represents a historic conservation success story. However, the chestnut's century-long absence from our forests creates a challenge. The goal of the Critical Needs Workshop was to gather information from participants to provide strategic processes needed to reintroduce this American icon to our forest. Topics of discussion ranged from the role of diverse partnerships, opportunities and challenges to restore the chestnut to private and public lands, and future research needs.

Critical Needs Workshop notes can be downloaded here


IV. Poster Session

One of the most effective ways that TACF has been attracting and engaging the vision and energy of younger generations is by offering opportunities for students to present chestnut-related research to our members and partners. We began this effort at our 2012 American Chestnut Summit by offering a poster session. Nearly 30 posters were shared with Summit attendees, many of them presented by undergraduate, graduate and PhD students.  

Download and view Posters here

Poster Session abstracts can be downloaded here