Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99 per year.
Subscribe for Full Access

Tree Sleuths

Flat-pack forensics: how scientists are dissembling black market lumber

Although “tree poaching” sounds like a niche, victimless crime, this multibillion-dollar illicit trade contributes to climate change in vulnerable parts of the world and, more often than not, harms humans and animals alike. Environmental scientists and advocates have long understood the potential that lies in tree DNA but have lacked the resources to utilize it. Now, with the assistance of volunteers, researchers are assembling a database that can match stolen wood to stumps. Lauren Markham joins Violet Lucca to discuss her report on black market lumber, the perils of viewing human life as separate from the rest of the natural world, and the dire economic conditions that motivate tree thieves.

Subscribe to our podcast through iTunesGoogle PodcastsSoundCloudStitcherDeezer, or Spotify.

More from

| View All Issues |

April 2021

“An unexpectedly excellent magazine that stands out amid a homogenized media landscape.” —the New York Times
Subscribe now