The American chestnut tree once reigned as the king of hardwoods in the eastern United States.

Some 4 billion covered 200 million acres along both sides of the Appalachian Mountains running from Maine to Georgia. Its timber was used for construction and its sweet chestnuts were gobbled up by the handful. Its towering presence inspired poets such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who placed the village blacksmith under its spreading branches.

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