Brian McCarthy, an Ohio University forest ecologist and professor of environmental and plant biology, is working to revive the American chestnut. Nearly eradicated by a foreign disease in the early 1900s, McCarthy and the Ohio chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, the U.S. Forest Research Lab and the U.S. Department of the Interior developed a hybrid, blight-resistant variety of the American chestnut.
In honor of this year’s Arbor Day, McCarthy led a group of volunteers in planting 800 seeds and seedlings at the Jockey Hollow Wildlife Management area. Near Cadiz, Ohio, Jockey Hollow is a 20-acre tract of reclaimed mine land.
The plantings were experimental, but seedlings were given a fungus that boosts their natural immune system to increase survival rate.