JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

ANALYSIS OF AMERICAN CHESTNUT (CASTANEA DENTATA) OCCURRENCE AND ECOLOGY IN KENTUCKY’S FEDERAL LANDS

Presenter Information

Jacob PeaseFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Howard Whiteman, PhD.; Andrea Darracq, PhD.; Kate He, PhD.; Ms. Jane Benson; Tim Spier, PhD.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Anthropogenic factors have been the causal agents in the decline of tree species globally. From logging and development to disease and poor management, introduced threats to forests have taken their toll. One species, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), was once an integral basal tree species in Appalachian forests but was eliminated from the landscape by chestnut blight by the mid-1900s and is now functionally extinct. Blight-resistant chestnuts have been created to reintroduce this species back into its historical range, but efficient and effective reintroduction will require optimal restoration sites that will maximize planting success. This project has focused on site suitability of Kentucky’s US Forest Service lands, and is aimed at determining the degree to which site suitability criteria from literature can predict chestnut locations in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) and Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF). Further analysis of remotely sensed data and maps will be used to refine our knowledge of chestnut reintroduction and determine how land managers and non-profits can optimize and expedite the reintroduction process across large landscapes. This project will provide a geospatial framework for chestnut reintroduction and improve methodologies for creating restoration frameworks for other at-risk species. The results of this project thus have the potential to serve as a model for land managers to utilize GIS and remotely sensed data as tools for the reintroduction of resistant, previously extirpated flora.

Spring Scholars Week 2021 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Symposium

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ANALYSIS OF AMERICAN CHESTNUT (CASTANEA DENTATA) OCCURRENCE AND ECOLOGY IN KENTUCKY’S FEDERAL LANDS

Anthropogenic factors have been the causal agents in the decline of tree species globally. From logging and development to disease and poor management, introduced threats to forests have taken their toll. One species, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), was once an integral basal tree species in Appalachian forests but was eliminated from the landscape by chestnut blight by the mid-1900s and is now functionally extinct. Blight-resistant chestnuts have been created to reintroduce this species back into its historical range, but efficient and effective reintroduction will require optimal restoration sites that will maximize planting success. This project has focused on site suitability of Kentucky’s US Forest Service lands, and is aimed at determining the degree to which site suitability criteria from literature can predict chestnut locations in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) and Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF). Further analysis of remotely sensed data and maps will be used to refine our knowledge of chestnut reintroduction and determine how land managers and non-profits can optimize and expedite the reintroduction process across large landscapes. This project will provide a geospatial framework for chestnut reintroduction and improve methodologies for creating restoration frameworks for other at-risk species. The results of this project thus have the potential to serve as a model for land managers to utilize GIS and remotely sensed data as tools for the reintroduction of resistant, previously extirpated flora.