Restoring a Forest with Fire and Love – Dennis Martinez

Rebroadcast from the TUC Archives
The 2017 California fires were the largest in State history. How did the management of the California forests and wild lands contribute to the inferno?

When Spanish Conquistadors rode up the West Coast they were astonished to see that they entered forests that looked like parks with widely spaced trees. Church and military records show that in the early 19th century California’s forests were carefully tended. The catastrophic wildfires of today were extremely rare. California Natives used controlled fires to create these parks that in turn provided food and shelter to them and thousands of animals.

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.

Few people still hold that precious knowledge of how Native forests were managed. Dennis Martinez is one of them. He is of O’odham/Chicano heritage, and helps traditional communities with the restoration of ancestral lands. He is well loved writer and lecturer. He is a seed collector, vegetation surveyor, restoration tree thinner and ethno-botanist.

I interviewed him in the late 1990s when I was visiting Western States in an RV with a studio and even a micro-power radio station on board. This is the rebroadcast of the archived program.

This program is dedicated to those affected by the 2017 California fires and anybody who wishes to make this a new beginning.

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