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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the American Chestnut in Canada


A large number of individuals (listed in Ambrose & Aboud, 1986) enthusiastically provided information on locations of individual trees or populations during the original surveys in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Forestry staff in Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) district offices shared information on known sites from their forest surveys. MNR also provided support funding for the original field surveys and staff time for the recovery planning process. World Wildlife Fund Canada provided funding for the earlier conservation biology study of this and other Carolinian species, as well as supporting the current recovery plan exercise, through the Endangered Species Recovery Fund, jointly with the Government of Canada’s Millennium Partnership Fund. Dr. Colin McKeen provided his phytopathology skills in early assessment of and experimentation with naturally occurring hypovirulent strains of the blight fungus. Dr. Greg Boland advised graduate students to further our understanding of the dynamics of this disease and co-chaired the recovery team. Other members of the recovery team provided their expertise: Dr. Brian Husband, Ken Elliott, Gerry Waldron, and Melody Melzer. A large number of advisors provided input to the plan. The 2001‑02 inventory was supervised by Drs. Husband and Boland; the summarized data and its analysis in the appendix were provided by the former. The fieldwork was organized by John McGrath and assisted by Jeff Tindall and Karen McKendry. The members of the Canadian Chestnut Council stand ready to assist and participate in recovery activities and studies. Andy Graham of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association reviewed the recovery plan and is ready to cooperate through his network of farm woodlot owners with chestnuts. Funding for the preparation of this status report provided by the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada.

Authorities Contacted

For the original status report all the MNR district offices within the range of this species were contacted and local records were obtained. More recent records were obtained from the Natural Heritage Information Centre as well as from individuals and the Canadian Chestnut Council.

Information Sources

Ambrose, J.D. 1987. Castanea dentata. In G.W. Argus, K.M. Pyer & C.J. Keddy (eds.). 1982-87. Atlas of Rare Vascular Plants in Ontario. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa.

Ambrose, J.D. & S.W. Aboud, 1986. Status Report on Chestnut (Castanea dentata), a Threatened Species in Canada. COSEWIC, Ottawa. 19 pp. + appendix.

Ambrose, J.D. & P.G. Kevan, 1990. Reproductive biology of rare Carolinian plants with regard to their conservation management, In G. Allen et al. (eds.) Conserving Carolinian Canada, proceedings of a workshop, Univ. of Waterloo Press, Waterloo.

Ambrose, J.D. & G.E. Waldron. 2004. Botanical inventory and natural heritage assessment of 24 Norfolk County forests. A report to Bird Studies Canada on behalf of the County of Norfolk (Ontario).

Anagnostakis, S.L. 1982. Biological control of Chestnut Blight. Science 215: 466-471.

Anagnostakis, S.L. & B. Hillman. 1992. Evolution of the chestnut tree and its blight. Arnoldia 52(2):2-10.

Argus, G.W., K.M. Pyer & C.J. Keddy (eds.). 1982-87. Atlas of Rare Vascular Plants in Ontario. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa.

Boland, G., J. Ambrose, K. Elliott, B. Husband, M. Melzer, & G. Waldron. 2000. National Recovery Plan for American Chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.).

Boland, G.J., M.M. Melzer, & D. Mooij. 1997. Location of American chestnut trees in southern Ontario; 1994-97. In: Biological control of chestnut blight with hypovirulence in southern Ontario. Eds. G.J. Boland, M. Melzer, and D. Mooij. Report to Ontario Forest Research Institute, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Duncan, B. 1993. The American chestnut: a Carolinian specialty. Wood Duck (Hamilton Naturalists’ Club) 46(5): 78-79.

Draper, W. 2002. Botanical inventory and site assessment of 16 candidate natural heritage woodlands. Report for the Long Point Region Conservation Authority.

Farrar, J.L. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Markham, Ontario.

Gleason, H.A. 1963. The New Britton & Brown.Illustrated Flora of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, vol. 2. Hafner, New York.

Griffin, G.A., 2000. Blight control and restoration of the American Chestnut. J. Forestry 98(2):22-27 [special issue on chestnut loss and recovery].

Jaynes, R.A. 1978. Selecting and breeding blight resistant chestnut trees. Pages 4-6 In: Proceedings of the American Chestnut Symposium, Morgantown, West Virginia. January 4-5, 1978. Eds. W.L. MacDonald, F.C. Cech, J. Kuchok and C. Smith. West Virginia University Books, Morgantown, WV. 

Morley, F. 2001. American chestnut in Spooky Hollow. Wood Duck (Hamilton Naturalists’ Club) 55(4): 77-78.

Moss, M.R. & P.L. Hosking, 1983. Forest associations in extreme southern Ontario ca 1817: a biogeographical analysis of Gourley=s Statistical Account. Can. Geographer 27:184-193.

NatureServe. 2003. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 1.8. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia.(Accessed: February 20, 2004.)

Tindall, J., J. Gerrath, M. Melzer, K. McKendry, B.C. Husband, & G. Boland. 2004. Ecological status of American chesntut (Castanea dentata) in its native range in Canada. Submitted to Canadian Journal of Forest Research.

Waldron, G. 2003. Trees of the Carolinian Forest: a guide to species, their ecology and uses. Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ontario.

Pertinent Web Sites

Canadian Chestnut Council

Environment Canada: Species at Risk Registry.

Native American Ethnobotany Database, compiled by Daniel Moerman.


Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC)

ROM/OMNR: Royal Ontario Museum/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk Module.

USDA Forest Service: