In a study recently released by Purdue University, the Chestnut Tree takes a front and center position in the fight against climate change. Researchers have found that a new hybrid of the American chestnut tree would not only give the species of tree a great kick start in reproduction, but will also sequester more carbon dioxide than other species of tree in the same time period.
It was found that the chestnut grows faster and larger than other hardwood species, which would allow it to pull more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. As an added bonus, the chestnut is often used in high-quality hardwood products such as furniture, which will allow the wood to hold onto the carbon dioxide longer than other wood byproducts like paper.
Around the turn of the last century a fungus spread through the American chestnut, causing its near extinction, however efforts to hybridize the American chestnut with fungus resistant Chinese chestnuts has proved successful, with new American chestnuts comprised of about 94% original American Chestnut, with just the good, fungus-resistant bits from the Chinese version. Scientists believe these new hybridized chestnuts will be ready to plant in eastern forest regions within the next decade.
The American chestnut has about three times as much biomass above ground as other hardwood species growing naturally in North America. Hopefully, in some time these trees will be repopulated, and help to ameliorate the increasing affects of higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.