Elsewhere on this week’s blog/newsletter you’ll see my latest piece about efforts to create a blight-resistant chestnut tree. After I field it, I encountered this fascinating bit of research looking at how and whether birds, carrying chestnuts, could spread such a tree through our forests.
Nut-bearing trees such as oaks (Quercus genus) and American chestnut (Castanea dentata, hereafter: chestnut) rely on scatter-hoarding animals for seed dispersal. With the pursuit of blight-resistant chestnuts for eventual reintroduction into eastern hardwood forests of the United States, it becomes important to understand how foraging preferences of avian seed-hoarders will influence chestnut dispersal in oak-dominated forests.
The research in southern Ohio found that birds will happily spread chestnuts if we develop them, especially in years when oak mast is limited.
A whole article, with link to the paper, is here.