New Jersey: Rutgers Ecology Team Works to Reintroduce American Chestnut Tree At Duke Farms.

Posted September 2012 By SER

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The American chestnut tree once thrived in the eastern half of the United States, but in the early 1900s, a fungus brought over to the United States on trees imported from Asia began infecting the American chestnut. As scientists work to develop a hybrid that is resistant to the fungus, Rutgers ecologists are playing a role in the multistate effort to reintroduce the American chestnut in the forest through their work at Duke Farms, a 2,700-acre estate in Somerset County. "The fungus spread like crazy, and what was one of the most valuable trees in eastern North America became like the Jedi knights: extinct,'' said Steven Handel, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers.

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