Forest Reciprocity Group
 
 

When we take care of the forest, the forest takes care of us.

Old growth stand, Chamberlin Creek, Jackson Demonstration State Forest, Mendocino County, CA

 
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Who we are

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The Forest Reciprocity Group (FRG) is a collective of people and organizations in the Mendocino county region, working to support the health and utilization of overstocked, fire-hazard forest lands. 

FRG’s purpose is restoring forest ecology while supporting forest product related industries. We are a collaboration of natural home builders, restorative forestry consultants, landowners, small diameter pole harvesters, and a growing collective of concerned local citizens. FRG is an initiative of Cloud Forest Institute, whose mission is to encourage bio-regional endeavors to re-establish balance within ecological systems by way of environmental education, forest reciprocity and resilient community development.  

 
 
 

FRG Vision

We envision healthy forests and healthy communities supporting each other.

FRG Mission

Our mission is collaborating with communities to tend forests for health and fire resilience.  In reciprocity, we are provided with an abundance of raw materials that may revitalize the local economy.

 
 

Background

There is widespread science based agreement among native land management practitioners, watershed & forest ecologists, and sustainable forestry professionals, about the need for renewed stewardship practices in the tragic wake of even-aged growth of clear cut harvesting of forest lands and the loss of ancient traditional low intensity fire management. The overburden of fire fuel loads has been steadily increasing as understory regeneration has largely gone unchecked. Over competition for light, water, and nutrients has lead to weakened forests, loss of diversity, and abundant small and dead wood. 

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Today’s wildfires are ascending into devastating crown and canopy fires, taking down the taller mother trees. In the past, the forests of California were tended by Native Americans in many ways including with low intensity controlled burns. The ancient tradition of burning the understory prevented overgrowth of the forest’s understory, allowing more water and nutrients for the healthy trees, and the species dependent upon fire to regenerate. Today’s catastrophic wildfires not only burn entire forests but also heat the soil to a point that it renders it nearly impossible for regeneration, while decimating ecosystems, watersheds, human lives and settlements annually throughout California.

CalFire with assistance from CA Conservation Corp chipping thinned small Doug fir and tan oak trees

CalFire with assistance from CA Conservation Corp chipping thinned small Doug fir and tan oak trees

There are several solutions to improved forest management that include traditional prescribed burns and the thinning of fire fuel loads of small diameter trees. CalFire thins overburdened forests of dead and small wood and the massive amount of materials are chipped or stacked and burned.

 

This burden is our solution.

 
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A beautiful and sturdy building material…

 
 
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The suppressed growth of ailing Douglas fir, tan oak and redwood trees creates extremely strong, “tight ring” small diameter poles, that can be used as beautiful, superior structural and architectural elements.  These poles exceed the tensile strength of milled lumber, with uncut continuous fibers running their entire length. 

Encased in natural fire resistant clay based plasters, these structures have proven to be exceptionally impervious to wildfires, a marked advance from expensive, often toxic and highly flammable dwellings.

 
 
 

Goals

 

01.
Restorative Forestry

FRG’s forest stewardship standards are guided by traditional Indigenous practices and restoration standards. Both aiming to improve forest structure, watershed health, and to regain ecological integrity and species diversification …

02.
small pole utilization

Small poles have been used as the framework of housing for millennia in forested areas around the world. Dimensional lumber has only been used in the last 100 years. In the early years of milled lumber derived from old growth trees …

03.
fire safe communities

There is no greener, more economically feasible and progressive solution for today’s housing needs than the use of small diameter poles that are already being selectively thinned to restore forestlands. Small poles are abundant and going to…

04.
A Working Model

The Forest Reciprocity Group understands the deep need for thinning small diameter poles from overburdened CA forestlands. We also understand that it needs to be economically viable. FRG has a working economic model for stakeholders to …

 
 

Restorative Forestry

Creative Adaptability

Fire Resilient Communities

A Revitalized Local Economy

 
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FRG strives to unite like-minded individuals, groups, First Nations, organizations and agencies in the effort of forest reciprocity.

FRG is an educational project of Cloud Forest Institute, whose mission is to encourage bio-regional endeavors to re-establish balance within ecological systems by way of environmental education, forest reciprocity and resilient community development. FRG was created through the efforts of members of Cloud Forest Institute, Polecraft Solutions and a growing number of concerned individuals.

Financial support has been granted through the  Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and the Just and Resilient Future Fund of the Another World is Possible Coalition. 

 
 
 
 
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