A park ranger points to damage on a redwood tree attacked by poachers
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Poachers chop at redwood trees to earn money for drugs

Some of the tallest trees in the world are under threat from poachers who have found an unlikely target.

Huge knots of wood, or burls, which grow out of ancient redwood trees in northern California can be amputated from the tree, polished, then sold for thousands of dollars as table-tops and ornaments.

Parts of the Redwood National and State Park have been closed off after a 400-year-old tree was cut down and as more and bigger burls are being taken near former logging towns where the economy has collapsed.

The BBC went to the town of Orick in rural northern California to find out more.

Produced by Alastair Leithead and Regan Morris; filmed and edited by Luke Winsbury

Altered States is a series of video features published every Wednesday on the BBC News website which examine how shifting demographics and economic conditions affect America on a local level.

  • 28 May 2014
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