Natural pollen dispersal and the effect of controlled burns in American chestnut restoration — Maya Niesz Kutsch 

Published October 17, 2023

2023 Poster Session

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Maya Niesz Kutsch and Dr. Andrew Newhouse

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, New York

Poster by Maya Niesz Kutsch


With the development and probable deregulation of Darling 58, a transgenic blight resistant line of American chestnut trees, it will become possible to begin restoration of these trees to their natural habitat. However, ecological research of C. dentata has been limited by their century-long absence. We will be investigating both the pollination characteristics of American chestnut, and its tolerance of fire. A pollination distance study has been established to determine the viable pollination distance of American chestnuts. This includes a central plot of pollen releasing trees, and spokes of pollen receiving trees. The number of fertilized burs created at increasing distances will show the effective pollination distance of American chestnuts. This will elucidate the optimal planting distances for American chestnuts in restoration plantings. American chestnuts are suggested in the literature to be tolerant of fire. We will be burning American chestnut seedlings that have been planted in controlled burn plots. Plots will be burned in either fall or spring, and there are also planted controls which will not be burned. We will determine the seedlings’ survivability and re-sprouting capabilities.

Keywords: Restoration, pollen, pollination, fire, controlled burn.