Appalachian Trail MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project

The Appalachian Trail MEGA-Transect Chestnut Project began in 2008 as a collaboration between TACF and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) to train volunteers to collect data on American chestnut trees growing along the Appalachian Trail (AT). Information gathered from this project will help scientists better understand the preferred site requirements for American chestnut by evaluating where the chestnut is still present in the forest.

Volunteers identify and collect data on American chestnut trees along the Appalachian Trail

Volunteers identify and collect data on American chestnut trees along the Appalachian Trail

This effort is part of the AT MEGA-Transect Project, a larger collaborative project of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service and many other partners. The AT MEGA Transect seeks to engage the public in citizen-science efforts to collect data along the AT to raise awareness of threats to the environmental health of the Appalachian Region. A transect, or strip of ground along which ecological measurements are made at regular intervals, is a method of collecting data where it is impractical to study the entire area. The prefix MEGA- means great or large, and has the double meaning of referring to the span of the A.T. from Maine (ME) to Georgia (GA).

Two types of data collected:
(1) total number of American chestnut trees three feet in height or taller within fifteen feet on either side of the trail and
(2) location and description of large individual trees thirteen inches or greater in circumference at 4.5 feet above ground.

The data will contribute to understanding the status of surviving remnants of American chestnuts. Data on large individual trees with the potential to produce flowers will assist TACF in increasing the genetic diversity of its backcross breeding program, which is intended to restore the American chestnut tree to its former place in the region’s forests by producing an otherwise American chestnut with the blight resistant characteristics of Asian chestnut.

2016 A.T. MEGA-Transect Training Schedule

measuringThere are no trainings at this time. Please contact us at chestnut@acf.org if you are interested in volunteering.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: