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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the American Chestnut in Canada

Biographical Summary of Report Writer

John Ambrose came to the University of Guelph Arboretum in 1974, after receiving a PhD in Botany from Cornell University. At the Arboretum, in addition to being the Curator, he developed a program based on the rare woody plants of the Carolinian Zone of southern Ontario, including field surveys, status reports and detailed studies of their population and reproductive biology. After 17 years there, he moved to the Toronto Zoo as Curator of Botany/Manager of Horticulture. There he developed new natural habitat exhibits and a naturalization program for peripheral lands of the site, in addition to his exhibit responsibilities. These reflect his growing interest in restoration ecology. In 1999 he left the Zoo to teach a new course in restoration ecology at the University of Guelph. He currently is self-employed and continues to work with endangered species recovery planning, serving on three recovery teams for Carolinian trees.

Collections Examined

All the major herbaria in southern Ontario as well as the national herbaria in Ottawa were searched for herbarium records; these were used to locate extant populations for the original status report and were recorded in that report. They, along with NHIC records and other more recent sight records, were the basis of the up-date survey in 2001-2.

The inventory crew spent two summers in the field making observations on known populations; the author spent several days revisiting selected sites missed by the inventory, plus 13 additional days in an unrelated project where chestnuts were found and reported here.