The objectives of this participative research program are:
1: Select surviving European chestnut trees within strong impacted areas by the ink disease
2: Evaluate their resistance against Phytophthora in laboratory, and verify their belonging to sweet chestnut, the species Castanea sativa.
3: Use the individuals showing the best resistance capacities against ink disease (“elite trees”) as seeds producers in seed orchards.
The expected results are:
- Reconquest and renewal of the actually declining chestnut orchards
- Decrease of production cost due to nuersery seedling production.
- Higher genetic diversity in the chestnut plantations.
A method is resented to reduce the severity of cankers caused by chestnut blight, Cryphonectria parasitica. This pathogenic fungus penetrates and necroses cortical tissues, which provoke mortality of adult trees aerial parts and failure of grafting.
In the 1970s, French researchers developed a biological control method using hypovirulent strains of the fungus. Since then, a research programme at INRA conducted with several organisations (Chambers of Agriculture, Union of Chestnut production Associations, the Forest Health Department) aims at clarifying and improving thecontrol methods.