Tree DNA thwarts black market lumber

How the genetic code of flora helped catch timber thieves.

  • A bigleaf maple tree in Capitol Forest near Olympia, Washington. Tree poachers have scraped bark from its surface to reveal the quilted figure they covet, leading investigators to suspect it might have been the poachers’ next target.

    Courtesy Anne Minden
  • A block of cut maple shows the wood's unique grain pattern.

    Courtesy Anne Minden