Chestnut — Grandfather of the Forest
It’s hard to imagine what the forests of North America looked like before they were impacted by colonial expansion, logging, and agriculture. No one alive today remembers the towering giants known as the eastern redwood for its size, or to many Indigenous nations east of the Mississippi, from southern Ontario to Florida—”Grandfather of the forest.” I’m talking about the American chestnut that once accounted for one out of every four trees in its native region. A chestnut’s trunk could span 10 feet across, and the tops of the canopy were 100 feet off the ground. Old photos of settler families...