American Chestnut officials talk to Vt. Legislature - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

American Chestnut officials talk to Vt. Legislature

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A scientistsays efforts to breed a version of the American chestnut tree that is resistantto a blight that almost wiped out the species are making progress, but it couldbe a century before the trees can offer much economic benefit to the Vermonteconomy.

Kendra Gurney, the New Englandregional science coordinator for The American Chestnut Foundation, made thecomments Thursday in a presentation before the House Committee on Agricultureand Forest Products.

The American chestnut was once one ofthe most dominant tree species from Maine to Georgia. It was largely wiped outby a blight from Asia, first identified in 1904.

The foundation has helped develop a blight-resistantspecies by crossing American chestnuts with a resistant Chinese variety, butit's not ready yet for widespread distribution.

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