Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods
Although unfortunately not the most egregious example (clear cutting and burning in the Amazon and elsewhere are an even bigger problem), the beautiful Pacific Redwoods are threatened with an alarming amount of illegal logging, despite the establishment of protected forest areas. However, this story is complicated and nuanced. Environmental issues tend to be extremely polarizing, so I appreciated Bourgon’s exceedingly compassionate presentation of this one.
Her extensive research included interviews with park rangers, environmental biologists, law enforcement officers, and most importantly, those whose lives are most entwined with the trees—former loggers and their communities. Several of those interviewed had been convicted of poaching. Their stories are essential for understanding not only the environmental, but also the human costs both of illicit logging and of the measures taken to save scarce resources.
The book does not excuse the poaching. But after reading it, you come away with a better idea of what may drive its happening, and maybe some different ideas about solutions—not only for the Redwoods, but for communities driven to poaching around the globe. It is a careful, thoughtful book that leads to many more questions and perhaps to better answers as well.
|Little, Brown Spark
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