Books and Articles About Nature, Sustainability, and Human-environment relationships

Writing

Books

Treekeepers: The Race for a Forested Future

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

In recent years, planting a tree has become a catchall to represent “doing something good for the planet.” Many companies commit to planting a tree with every purchase. But who plants those trees and where? Will they flourish and offer the benefits that people expect? Can all the individual efforts around the world help remedy the ever-looming climate crisis?

In Treekeepers, Lauren E. Oakes takes us on a poetic and practical journey from the Scottish Highlands to the Panamanian jungle to meet the scientists, innovators, and local citizens who each offer part of the answer. Their work isn’t just about planting lots of trees, but also about understanding what it takes to grow or regrow a forest and to protect what remains. Throughout, Oakes shows the complex roles of forests in the fight against climate change, and of the people who are giving trees a chance with hope for our mutual survival.

Timely, meticulously reported, and ultimately optimistic, Treekeepers teaches us how to live with a sense of urgency in our warming world, to find beauty in the present for ourselves and our children, and to take action big or small.

“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

Coming November 2024

Pre-Order Treekeepers Now

Pre-order your copy today, or purchase a signed copy through Lauren’s local bookstore.

Cover of the book "In Search of The Canary Tree" by author and scientist Lauren E. Oakes
The image shows the text "Science Friday"

The Best Science Books Of 2018

Science Friday Selection

Logo of the Society of Environmental Journalists

Second Place 2019

Rachel Carson Environment Book Award

Text reading "National Academies: Sciences Engineering Medicine"

Finalist 2019

National Academies Communication Award

In Search of the Canary Tree: The Story of Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World

The surprisingly hopeful story of one woman’s search for resiliency in a warming world.

Ecologist Lauren E. Oakes sets out from California for Alaska’s old-growth forests to hunt for a dying tree: the yellow-cedar. With climate change as the culprit, the death of this species has meant loss for many Alaskans, but Oakes chronicles how plants and people can cope with their rapidly changing world. Amidst the standing dead, she discovers the resiliency of forgotten forests, flourishing again in the wake of destruction, and a diverse community of people who persevere to create new relationships with the emerging environment. Eloquent, insightful, and deeply heartening, In Search of the Canary Tree is a case for hope in a warming world. 

“In a warming world, we need wisdom as well as knowledge; In Search of the Canary Tree is a rich source of both. Join Lauren E. Oakes in the fragile yellow-cedar forests of Alaska and discover not only how field ecologists do their work, but why.” — Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Toms River

“We live in a moment of loss, and we are obligated not only to try and stop it, but to find the instances of resilience that can help us cope with that great tragedy. This book rises to the occasion!” — Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“…Oakes tells a powerful, nuanced story of climate change and our response to it. Deftly crossing boundaries from the scientific to the personal and from the measurable to the immeasurable, she takes the reader on an extraordinary adventure from despair to faith. This book is a must-read for anyone looking for optimism about the future of our changing planet.” — Juli Berwald, author of Life on the Rocks and Spineless

“This is a book of courage that celebrates the sustaining power of community, both human and wild.” — Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Hour of Land

“Engaging and galvanizing, In Search of the Canary Tree is about more than a rare tree — it’s about nature’s (and humanity’s) capacity for resilience in a changing world.” — Shelf Awareness

Selected Articles

For past research published in peer-reviewed journals, visit Lauren E. Oakes on Google Scholar.