Links |

Success Stories

Expanding the Dialogue



Success Stories

Arkin Tilt Acrchitechts timber frame strawbale farmhouse saved the lives of its inhabitants in the 2017 fires that tore through Redwood Valley.

Natural Strawbale Earthen Farmhouse Style home Right in the Line of Fire and Survives

“On behalf of many of our clients, we are pleased to report that nearly all of our projects located adjacent to or within the recent wildfire zones in Northern California have survived.  Two strawbale projects in particular were directly in the line of fire, and both survived. The first is the Redwood Valley Residence (pictured above), where the owner and his dog were awoken by an orange glow out the window.  They left in his truck to make an escape to the valley floor, along with a neighbor they met on long driveway, but at that moment his well pump house burst into flames, blocking the drive, so they retreated to the house which held them safe until dawn.  All of the surrounding landscape, trees, outbuildings and infrastructure were burnt, along with two neighboring homes…” Continue reading >>



“On Sunday, July 15, [2018] Southern Oregon was hit with a severe lightning storm, sparking more than 100 fires across the region. While some, including the Hendrix Fire in the Applegate, grew quickly, at least one was stopped in its tracks thanks to a quick-thinking caretaker and the help of Lomakatsi. Landowner Meg Sprouse had contacted Lomakatsi in 2017 to perform ecological restoration and fuels reduction on her property. Lomakatsi crews cleared invasive species, cut back brush and thinned overcrowded forest lands in the spring of 2017, returning over the winter to burn piled slash from restoration activities.” From Lomakatsi Restoration Project. Continue reading >>


expanding the dialogue

Living Forests

The Living Forests (formerly Saving the West) team was organized in 2016 by the Center for the Study of the Force Majeure to promote a whole systems approach to the challenges of fire and drought in the Sierra Nevada and ultimately across the intermountain west. We have become a collaborative group bringing a range of individuals, organizations, artists, scientists, policy makers and community groups committed to building enduring environmentally informed end-to-end solutions. We believe success is available only when we can inspire the development a 21st century forestry model.

We support the development of a renewable wood products economy, creating a sustainable economic engine for thousands of people in historically depressed areas. The beneficial effects of a renewable wood based economy transcend traditional economic virtues. In a virtuous cycle, good environmental stewardship becomes good economic development. Wildlife, water quality, quality of work and life all improve.”

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 4.01.05 PM.png

Sagehen Forest Project

“Our vision is to foster and conduct applied and basic research on the function and operation of the natural and managed ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada, to apply this learning to resource management, then connect this knowledge to the broader public….Historically, fisheries, wildlife and forestry studies have predominated, however in recent decades, use has expanded to include significant hydrology-related efforts, basin ecology, our innovative education programs, and many other subjects. Our large research initiatives–like the Sagehen Forest Project–are often multi-disciplinary, and generally targeted at land management and social policy needs.” Go to web site..

Segehen Forest Project blog:

Forest Service Sagehen Experimental Forest:



Science catches up with Indigenous wisdom breaking open settler colonial myths about fire as only destructive and burned landscapes as useless. “…fire is key to optimizing forest vitality and biodiversity.” The merging of these two ways of knowing has signaled “the end to our misguided policy of fire suppression at all costs, and the beginning of an era of building fire-resilient communities with a new relationship to one of nature’s most elemental and fearful forces. With fire ecologists Chad Hanson and Frank Kanawha Lake.” Listen to podcast >>


Native Perspectives on Sustainability: Dennis Martinez (O'odham/Chicano/Anglo) Interviewed by David E. Hall, January 3, 2008.

“DM: …I work all over the map, and each situation is different. So, what I would like to do is give you some general ideas, deriving from my many communities both internationally and here locally, and regionally. Because it is really the same basic issues, the same basic struggle. So what I am going to say about my, quote, community here in southwest Oregon applies a little bit to them sometimes, but often doesn’t because every community is different. There is a fair degree of assimilation within that community. I work with fairly traditional and fairly assimilated people and communities, and so I am going to deal with a more generalized approach to what community and sustainability mean.” Read the interview >>


New Practice Promising for Restoring Lost Forests of Giants - Save the Redwoods League

Ecosystem Responses to Variable-Density Thinning for Forest Restoration in Mill Creek

“The new forest restoration practice called localized release involves thinning dense young redwood stands …to accelerate their transformation into thriving diverse forests with massive redwoods and flourishing plants and wildlife….researchers created separate test sites where the trees were either left alone, heavily thinned, lightly thinned, or thinned in a pattern that left the most promising trees within 25-foot circles, a method which is called localized release. The large study included 8,366 trees in 60 test plots at 20 sites…” Read full article >>


Restoring a Forest with Fire and Love – Dennis Martinez

An interview by Maria Gilardin of TUC Radio
The 2017 California fires were the largest in State history. In 2018 we saw the Meno Complex fires which were even bigger and more devastating than 2017, and the Paradise CAMP fire followed in NOVEMBER, burning the entire town to the ground. “How did the [mis]management of the California forests and wild lands contribute to the inferno? …Dennis Martinez talks about Indian forest practice and restoration. He has worked for over 50 years in eco-cultural restoration specializing in tribal lands and cultural issues.” Listen to podcast >>


Can Native American Tribes Protect Their Land If They’re Not Recognized by the Federal Government?

“…From Landless Tribes to Land Stewards ‘Because indigenous peoples have the millennial-old relationship with place and the responsibility to care for the place, I think you will actually see better care for the environment when land is returned to tribal control,’ says D’Arcy. Amah Mutsun and other California tribes have created land trusts — nonprofits that work with landowners and agencies to preserve important cultural and ecological sites — including Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve in Santa Cruz County, part of the California state park system. And the tribe is partnering with the National Park Service to protect and nurture traditional…” Continue reading >>


Bioneers | Dennis Martinez on Indigenous Knowledge of Sustainability

Dennis Martinez explains indigenous knowledge of food sustainability, specifically of salmon. This talk (of which only a clip is shared here) took place at the Indigenous Forum at the 2012 Bioneers Annual Conference. Watch the 3 minute video >>



Living Forests

Supporting the development of a renewable wood products economy, creating a sustainable economic engine for thousands of people in historically depressed areas.

Polecraft Solutions

Natural home building and design, small diameter round wood timber framing >>

Mendocino County Fire Safe Council

To inform, empower, and mobilize county residents to survive and thrive in a wildfire prone environment >>

Northern CA Prescribed Fire Council

A venue for practitioners, state and federal agencies, academic institutions, tribes, coalitions, and interested individuals to work collaboratively to promote, protect, conserve, and expand the responsible use of prescribed fire in Northern California’s fire-adapted landscapes >>

Lomakatsi Restoration Project

A non-profit, grassroots organization that develops and implements forest and watershed restoration projects in Oregon and Northern California >>

Cal Fire

The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection serves and safeguards the people and protects the property and resources of California >>