Maryn Wheeler


Excellent, Intermediate, Young Adult, non-fiction, American chestnut tree, scientists, comeback

Document Type

Book Review


The American chestnut tree is a giant among North America’s eastern trees, in size and as a resource. It is useful for lumber, food, and tannin, used in tanning leather. In 1904, Hermann Merkel, a chief forester of the New York Zoological Park, discovered a blight or disease which almost wiped these trees out within fifty years. Through the efforts of scientists and volunteers, three methods, including backcross breeding, using a virus to combat the deadly fungus, and growing transgenic American chestnut trees, have been employed to help save this American icon.