Making Room for the Chestnut – Part II

Jay Engle of MeadWestvaco checks out a chestnut thriving in a naturally regenerating forest in southeastern WV.

In a previous post I talked about the vast mature forests of the Appalachians and wondered how chestnut would find their way with so much shade.  After half a day on  MeadWestvaco lands in West Virginia, I have at least part of the answer.  MeadWestvaco manages a large forested landscape with nearly every stage of forest growth represented.  Of particular value are the new clearcuts, which make perfect nurseries for young chestnut.  Jay Engle, a forester for MWV, and his colleagues are stewarding a planting project in cooperation with WV-TACF and TACF staff.  A variety of chestnuts has been planted in a new clearcut.  So far, the results are encouraging (see picture).  This is a dynamic landscape where chestnut could be established in full sunlight in forested settings (a young forest is still a forest) at intervals for decades.  More of such landscapes are needed.  Our partnership with MeadWestvaco is greatly appreciated and extremely valuable.

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