The first large scale planting blight resistant chestnut is done-
When the chestnut blight hit in the 1950s, there were probably 3 billion American chestnut trees in the United States. Now there are perhaps only about a hundred trees in its natural range. The demise of the chestnut was a blow to wildlife that ate their prolific and reliable nut crop. The current die off of whitebark pine from a blight and bark beetles is a more recent catastrope.
There is now good news for the return of the American chestnut, The mighty American chestnut tree, poised for a comeback. By Juliet Elperin. Washington Post. Of course, it will take a hundred years for a widespread restoration, one that will have big ecological benefits.
The American chestnut’s blight resistance was created by crossing it with the highly resistant Chinese chestnut in way that retained essentially all the details of the American chestnut. Perhaps a similar restoration can be done for the whitebark pine, although I suppose the preferred method might be direct genetic manipulation of survivors because of a lack of closely related pines.
I think we will need more and more genetic science to keep our ecosystems from unravelling in this rapidly changing world.