That’s to be expected, but not all of the Times’s coverage of woodlands is so businesslike. On the its Green blog, Gillis began one post with an engaging story about how a visit with Ralph Keeling—the son of Charles David Keeling, who discovered the trend of rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the 1950s—prompted him to pursue the story that wound up on the front page. In another, he answered readers’ questions about personal actions that can be taken to promote forest conservation, the impact of population growth on forests, and tree replanting schemes.

It’s worth checking out the all the posts at the Green blog tagged “forests.” There are plenty of the non-technical, non-wonkish journey-through-the-woods type pieces from contributing writers. The hoard of stories there is in addition to the Times’s main Forests and Forestry topic page and its Wildfire 2011 (Arizona and Texas Wildfires) topic page. For good writing, it’s also worth checking out the coverage at Yale Environment 360 and Audubon Magazine. And if you’re into the technical stuff, ScienceDaily.com has a forests page that churns out information about the latest research in the field.

It turns out, by the way, that 2011 is the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. That won’t be the most useful lead for most reporters, but at least it comes as some reminder of what an important, worldwide story this is.

Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.