|Most temperate broadleaf forests are dominated by only a few species of tree and are therefore called simply "beech-maple forest" or "oak-hickory forest", depending on their most abundant types of trees.|
|There are, however, exceptions -- in the eastern United States, there is in fact a forest where over 80 species of tree can be found. They include oaks, beeches, magnolias, basswoods, maples, hickories, and other trees, many of them very rare. But this unusual forest is dying rapidly, and no one really knows why.||
Red oaks (Quercus rubra) are a common species in North America's eastern forests, ranging from Nova Scotia to Georgia. Photo by Maya Walters.
|More and more trees in this diverse forest are rotting away and falling every year. The American chestnut was once widespread in this forest, growing quite tall and forming much of the canopy, but an imported fungus from China began attacking these trees. First noticed in 1906, this fungus killed all of the large trees, since the American chestnut is completely unresistant. However, the blight didn't destroy the roots, and new shoots continue to grow, although they are usually killed by the time they reach 20 feet in height. The once dominant American chestnut has thus been completely eliminated from the forest canopy.|
[threats to forests]
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