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The Forest Community

 

Not all microorganisms are beneficial to trees.  Some organisms are pathogens meaning they cause tree diseases.  Dutch elm disease is a fungus which kills elm trees all across the United States.  It kills by blocking the elm tree's xylem.  Think of the xylem as the plumbing that delivers water and nutrients. 

 

The American Chestnut was also nearly wiped out as a result of a fungus that kills the stem.  Most chestnut trees today exist only as very small sprouts that live for only a few years.  In the picture to your right the stumps on the left and right are dead, while all that remains are the small sprouts in the middle.  Both of these diseases were brought to North America when logs were imported from overseas.  This just goes to show that even though we might have good intentions we can really mess up a forest ecosystem.  Learn more about chestnut blight.

 

Visit Charlie Chestnut to learn more about the blight, American chestnut, and restoration.

chestnut sprouts
chestnut sprouts
 

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