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 sustainably sourced 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 local economies.

 

 
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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. 

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 burn entire forests while diminishing California’s largest source of carbon sequestration, pumping massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

CCC with CalFire chipping small thinned trees.

CCC with CalFire chipping small thinned trees.

There are several solutions to improved forest management that include the reintroduction of fire with 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 and are in compliance with CalFire’s Urban Forestland Interface standards. This is a marked advance from lower quality, loos ringed stick lumber that has been sourced through extractive methods, combined with often toxic and highly flammable materials we see in the mainstream dwellings.

 
 
 

Goals

 

01.
Restorative Forestry

FRG’s forest stewardship standards are guided by traditional Indigenous practices and restoration standards to improve forest structure and watershed health, to regain canopy integrity…

02.
small pole utilization

Small poles have been used as the framework for housing and shelter for millennia in forested areas around the world. Dimensional lumber has only been used within the last hundred years…

03.
fire safe communities

The most efficient, sustainable and intelligent solution for today’s housing needs is the use of small diameter poles, that are selectively thinned to restore forestlands…

04.
Carbon sequestration

98% of California forestland (nearly 50% of which is privately owned) is recovering from clear-cut forestry, which is still legal on private lands and widely practiced. Much of that forestland is 3rd, 4th…

 
 

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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