In Search of the Canary Tree

The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World

by Lauren E. Oakes

The award-winning and surprisingly hopeful story of one woman's search for resiliency in a warming world

Several years ago, ecologist Lauren E. Oakes set 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 meant loss for many Alaskans. Oakes and her research team wanted to chronicle how plants and people could cope with their rapidly changing world. Amidst the standing dead, she discovered the resiliency of forgotten forests, flourishing again in the wake of destruction, and a diverse community of people who persevered 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.


  • Basic Books; November 2018
  • ISBN: 9781541617421
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: In Search of the Canary Tree
  • Author: Lauren E. Oakes
  • Imprint: Basic Books

In The Press

"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 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


About The Author

Lauren E. Oakes is a conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and an adjunct professor in Earth System Science at Stanford University. She lives in Portola Valley, California and Bozeman, Montana.