Note to readers, attached is complete final report for FNE00-326.
American chestnut trees were a large part of the economy and history of Appalachia. The Boggs farm has a long association with the American chestnut. The farms’ barns and fence posts still attest to the longevity of this valuable wood. If chestnut trees returned to the woodland forests of West Virgina, this would be a major economic boom for the farmers and timber men of this area. A cure, or a resistant species, for the chestnut blight might be found. Many universities and research facilitates are working in laboratory and field research to find a cure to this blight. Larry Boggs believes that Mother Nature may be the answer. He realizes that genetic adaption will only take place where there is an opportunity for natural cross pollination and survivable reproduction. He would like to provide nature with this opportunity on this farm, which is in the central range of the American chestnut. Mr. Boggs noticed many chestnut sprouts on his farm. If one did grow enough to bloom, there was never any other close enough to cross pollinate. Trees set empty husks because there were not enough trees to fertilize each other. Larry Boggs has planted and protected enough American chestnut trees that there is a growing number of fertile seeds collected every year from natural cross pollination. It is a fight to maintain these trees, not only from the blight, but from the large deer herd and other animals, that want to damage the trees and collect nuts for themselves. This SARE program has given Larry the opportunity to help out Mother Nature, and also to use his farm as an education opportunity. The Boggs farm is used to educate the public about the importance that the American chestnut tree played in Appalachian history, and also of the importance that this tree could play in the future of this area.