Lyndsie Bourgon, "Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America's Woods" (Little, Brown Spark, 2022)

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There's a strong chance that chair you are sitting on was made from stolen lumber. In Tree Thieves: Crime And Survival In North America's Woods (Little, Brown Spark, 2022), Lyndsie Bourgon takes us deep into the underbelly of the illegal timber market. As she traces three timber poaching cases, she introduces us to tree poachers, law enforcement, forensic wood specialists, the enigmatic residents of former logging communities, environmental activists, international timber cartels, and indigenous communities along the way.

Old-growth trees are invaluable and irreplaceable for both humans and wildlife, and are the oldest living things on earth. But the morality of tree poaching is not as simple as we might think: stealing trees is a form of deeply rooted protest, and a side effect of environmental preservation and protection that doesn't include communities that have been uprooted or marginalized when park boundaries are drawn. As Bourgon discovers, failing to include working class and rural communities in the preservation of these awe-inducing ecosystems can lead to catastrophic results.

Featuring excellent investigative reporting, fascinating characters, logging history, political analysis, and cutting-edge tree science, Tree Thieves takes readers on a thrilling journey into the intrigue, crime, and incredible complexity sheltered under the forest canopy.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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