Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Butternut Tree

So far I have identified about half a dozen butternut trees on this woodlot. In certain areas all that remains are dead trees likely killed off by the ice storm followed by the Butternut Canker. I will have to check them out more carefully one day to determine the cause of death. Other trees appear completely healthy. One article that reports on a study of the DNA of the Butternut Canker fungus states that the disease had been introduced to North America around the 1960’s. The disease has had a devastating effect on the NA butternut population which centres around Northeastern US. In Canada it exists in Southern Quebec, Southern Ontario and parts of the Maritimes. In some areas of the US, the populations have been reduced by as much as 80%.

Several of the Butternut trees here seem to remain quite healthy and according to internet research i.e. see: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_but/ht_but.htm biologists are interested in finding surviving butternut trees with the hope of finding a canker resistant strain. In Canada The Forest Gene Conservation Association, based in Peterborough ON, wants landowners to come forward with reports of occurrences of the tree. See http://www.fgca.net/conservation/sar/butternut_helpus.aspx

There is another project one could embark upon in one’s spare time.

3 comments:

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The Godfather said...

I like beer and breaking stuff