Peabody Energy and The American Chestnut Foundation will test by kby12992

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									Peabody Energy and The American Chestnut Foundation will test tree’s
adaptability to reforest former coal mines

“We are pleased to collaborate in a project aimed at bringing back the American
Chestnut tree to Appalachia.”
— Ian Craig, Peabody Group Executive
 for Technical Services




American chestnut seeds are planted in test sites at Peabody Energy's proposed
Thoroughbred Energy Campus near Central City, Kentucky

A collaboration forged between The American Chestnut Foundation and
Peabody Energy will test the adaptability of the American chestnut for
reforestation on reclaimed lands in Kentucky through a five-year $100,000 study
funded by Peabody. The American Chestnut Foundation is working to restore the
American chestnut tree to its native woodlands. Peabody is the world’s largest
coal company and a leader in environmental stewardship.

Peabody’s mission is to be a worldwide supplier of low-cost energy, which
contributes to economic prosperity and a better quality of life. This mission is
reflected through the company’s strategies and larger practices regarding energy
and the environment. Peabody operations continue to be recognized for innovative
approaches to stewardship that restore superior rangeland, magnificent wildlife
preserves, pristine wetlands and sturdy hardwood forests.

“We are pleased to collaborate in a project aimed at bringing back the American
Chestnut tree to Appalachia,” said Peabody Group Executive for Technical
Services Ian Craig. ”The company has planted nearly 400,000 trees in Kentucky in
the past three years and continues to be recognized for stewardship. Fast-growing
trees like the American chestnut provide aesthetic, economic and practical value
while benefiting the environment.”
The goal of The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is to breed blight-
resistant American chestnut trees to replant within eastern U.S. forests. The blight
is caused by a lethal fungus accidentally imported from Asia in the late 19th
century. Prior to the blight epidemic, up to one-fourth of hardwoods in eastern
forests were American chestnut. By 1950 the tree was nearly extinct. TACF
expects to have its first generation of blight-resistant trees ready for trial forest
plantings by 2010.

The American Chestnut Mined Land Reclamation Project has planted American
chestnut seeds from TACF’s research orchards at 6 test areas at the site of
Peabody’s proposed Thoroughbred Energy Campus, located on reclaimed lands
near Central City, Kentucky. Thoroughbred is a planned, 1,500-megawatt coal-
fueled generation project that would produce clean, low-cost electricity, create
hundreds of jobs and help revitalize Kentucky’s economy by injecting $100
million annually into area communities.

According to Fred Hebard, Ph.D., Staff Pathologist at TACF’s Meadowview,
Virginia research farms, TACF is backcrossing the blight resistance of Chinese
chestnut into its American cousin to produce a tree that with each generation is
increasingly American, but still resistant to blight. The seeds planted at Peabody’s
Thoroughbred Energy Campus are from a mid-level generation of Meadowview
research trees. Thoroughbred planting sites were selected for variation of soil
types and slope.
 Marshal Case, TACF President & CEO, said the collaboration with Peabody is
the realization of a vision he has long held for the American chestnut tree. “One of
the first discussions I had with Dr. Hebard after joining TACF was about the
potential for planting American chestnuts on reclaimed lands,” said Case. “I
anticipate a long-term collaboration that will have significant positive impact on
the environment."

“Peabody is truly excited about the American chestnut’s potential for mined land
reclamation,” said Phil Pritchard, TACF Director of Development and Special
Projects. “We are particularly grateful to Peabody Senior Group Leader for
Environmental Services Nick Kasperik for championing our efforts and getting
this project off the ground. This collaboration has great potential to open many
new doors for similar reclamation projects throughout the chestnut’s original
range.”
 TACF members believe the collaboration will contribute to the goals of both
organizations.
 “How appropriate this is,” said Rex B. Mann, Timber, Wildlife & Fire Staff
Officer at Daniel Boone National Forest, in Winchester, Kentucky. “TACF, whose
only mission is to restore the keystone species, American chestnut, can also play a
role in restoring mined lands back to forest land,” he said. “For the
Commonwealth of Kentucky, this is huge!” Mann is President of the Kentucky
Chapter of TACF.

Greg Miller, Ph.D., of Empire Chestnut Company in Carrollton, Ohio, grows
American chestnut trees for TACF to sell to its members. “I've always thought that
well-drained sites on reclaimed mined lands were a good place to restore
American chestnut trees in Appalachia,” Miller said. “For over 5,000 years, the
tree’s tenacious roots held mountain slopes intact while its abundant and reliable
nut production supported wildlife. It has been well-documented that chestnut trees
thrive after disturbances such as fire, wind throw, tree cutting and other
occurrences of forest canopy removal. American chestnut is a logical species for
Peabody to add to its restoration programs.”Doug Jacobs, Ph.D., President of the
Indiana Chapter of TACF, said he believes that blight-resistant American chestnut
trees will provide an important new resource for reclamation plantings. “Research
indicates that American chestnut is among the fastest growing eastern hardwoods,
and that it has the ability to compete well in restoration projects,” said Jacobs.

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is the world's largest private-sector coal company,
with 2003 sales of 203 million tons and $2.8 billion in revenues. Its coal products
fuel more than 10% of all U.S. electricity generation and more than 2.5% of
worldwide electricity generation. TACF is supported by over 5,000 national and
international members.


                  THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT FOUNDATION
                   469 Main Street, Suite 1, P.O. Box 4044
                        Bennington, Vermont 05201
            802-447-0110 ~ fax 802-442-6855 ~ chestnut@acf.org

								
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