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

Posted September 2012 By SER

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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