The American chestnut was once a fixture of the Eastern forest. Until, a virulant fungus, commonly called chestnut blight, was introduced around the turn of last century. The blight all but whipped out an entire species, that wild animals and settlers depended upon.
The American Chestnut Foundation was formed to preserve and restore the American chestnut. By cross breeding blight resistent Chinese chestnut with our native American chestnut, the foundation has been getting ever closer to creating a blight resistant American chestnut tree.
Check out this article for some of the lastest information. http://www.centredaily.com/2013/06/04/3639992/restoring-a-piece-of-the-past.html?goback=%2Egde_2696676_member_246760958