Scientist and writer exploring the intersection of nature, climate, and human impact through story

About Lauren

I make environmental science accessible to non-scientists. I write about forests, climate, and our complex relationships with nature. My craft blends science communications and reporting through narrative.

I earned my Ph.D. from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program for Environment and Resources at Stanford University. By training, I’m an ecologist and land change scientist, committed to facilitating more sustainable land use practices in communities across the world. I have always been intrigued by our human footprint on the natural world and concerned about the ways environmental degradation affects the lives of people and other species.

My writing has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, Emergence Magazine, Nautilus and other media outlets. My first book, In Search of the Canary Tree, was selected as one of Science Friday’s Best Science Books of 2018. In 2019, it won second place for the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award and was a finalist for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Communication Award. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supported research and reporting for Treekeepers, my most recent book about the global reforestation movement.

I live in a little forested canyon, which has farms and llamas, just outside Bozeman, Montana.

Lauren E. Oakes stands with her hands in the pockets of her blue jeans, leaning against a wooden wall

Photo Credit: Michelle Paluck

A forest painted with vibrant autumn colors is depicted on the cover of "Treekeepers: The Race for a Forested Future" by scientist and author Lauren E. Oakes.

Coming Soon

Treekeepers: The Race for a Forested Future

How the path from climate change to a habitable future winds through the world’s forests.

“Can trees really save us? Oakes digs deep into the complexities of planting forests to soak up carbon. The result is a frank, probing, but ultimately hopeful book.” –Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Sixth Extinction

“Forests—especially mature ones, with big trees—are clearly crucial to our future. Here’s an in-depth exploration of exactly why, and it’s filled not just with numbers but with stories!” – Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature