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Hard Mast Production Before and After the Chestnut Blight

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We estimated hard mast production of a Southern Appalachian forest for two 10 yr intervals: one before and one, 35 yr after, the chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica) (Murr.) Barr, had killed all mature chestnut trees. The basal area of hard mast-producing trees in the postblight forest was 28% less than in the preblight forest. The estimate of hard mast output was 34% less after the chestnut blight. Postblight production was less than preblight production for 8 of 10 yr. During 5 of these years, postblight production was only 5-27% of preblight production. Annual preblight mast production was relatively stable, whereas annual postblight production fluctuated substantially. Our findings suggest that the loss of mature chestnuts (Castanea dentata) markedly reduced the Southern Appalachian forest's carrying capacity for certain wildlife species. South. J. Appl. For 24(4):196-201.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0331

Publication date: 2000-11-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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