I came across and read this really well-done story on the American Chestnut in the New York Times magazine. I'd long heard how it was sorely missed in Appalachian forests but I never knew why and to what extent. Hybridization has provided some hope but genetic engineering has been successful at creating a blight-resistant tree. There's an interesting back-story too on how Monsanto got wind of the effort and tried to monetize one researcher's life work. He astutely published his work to make it unprotectable by patent.
The tree helped build industrial America before disease wiped out an estimated three billion or more of them. To revive their lost glory, we may need to embrace tinkering with nature.