Recording Culturally Modified Trees

Issued: January 15, 1996

Revised: May 7, 1997

As of March 22, 2017, please refer to Bulletin 27 - Culturally Modified Tree Guidelines


The purpose of this directive on recording culturally modified trees (CMTs) is to provide guidance to Archaeology Branch staff, professional archaeologists, Ministry of Forests staff, forestry licensees and non-professionals as to the CMT information that should be recorded during archaeological overviews and impact assessments. A CMT is defined as a tree or a remnant of a tree with evidence of traditional aboriginal forest use.



To provide for the consistent recording of CMTs in order to facilitate the protection and conservation of CMT information in the context of land use decision-making.



Pursuant to section 13 of the Heritage Conservation Act (1996 RSBC, Chap. 187), permits are required under sections 14(2) and 12(2) to authorize any actions affecting CMTs pre-dating 1846 [s.13(2)(d)] or thought to predate 1846 [s.13(2)(g)]. Permits are issued to authorize such actions during the recording and subsequent alteration of CMTs. In accordance with sections 12(5) and 14(5), permits may include requirements, specifications and conditions that the permit signing authority considers appropriate.



Depending on the level of archaeological assessment, CMTs should normally be recorded on either Level I or Level II recording forms (described more fully in the "Procedures" section). Level I forms should be completed during the field reconnaissance component of archaeological overview assessments, whereas Level II forms are to be completed during archaeological inventories or impact assessments conducted under permit, pursuant to the Heritage Conservation Act.



The following data fields are to be recorded on Level I CMT Recording Forms (the CMT Feature Recording Form should also be used with the Level I CMT Recording Form, where possible):

(1) temporary site number;
(2) map sheet number (NTS or TRIM);
(3) location (mapped on 1:50,000 NTS and ca. 1:5,000 forest cover maps;
(4) UTM coordinates, specifying NAD 27 or 83:
(5) tenure or legal description (e.g., cruise plot number, cut block, TFL, District Lot);
(6) site dimensions;
(7) number of CMTs;
(8) CMT species present;
(9) CMT class types present;
(10) recorder;
(11) date; and
(12) comments.

The following minimum data fields, in addition to Level I fields, are to be recorded on Level II forms, which are to be used in conjunction with the CMT Feature Recording Form:

(1) location (i.e., access, transect number, mapped transect locations);
(2) tree species for individual CMTs; and
(3) classes and types of CMTs:
a) bark-stripped trees typed as tapered, large rectangular, girdled or other stripped trees;
b) aboriginally-logged trees typed as tested, undercut, felled, sectioned, notched, planked, or canoe trees; and
(c) other modified trees typed as pitch collection, kindling collection, delimited, message, arborglyph, arborgraph, blazed, sap collection, or other types of trees.

Upon receipt of Level I or II forms, the branch will assign Borden identification numbers, enter the data in the Provincial Heritage Register Database (PHRD), and plot CMT locations as circles on 1:50,000 scale NTS maps. Assignment of a Borden number is required before alterations are authorized under section 12 of the Heritage Conservation Act.

Note: Procedures and classifications are derived from "Culturally Modified Trees of British Columbia, A handbook for the Identification and recording of Culturally Modified Trees" (Ministry of Forest 1997), and "Summary of Culturally Modified Tree Workshop, December 3 and 4, 1991" (Charlton, Travis & Associates, December 18, 1991).

Level I forms are included in the "Handbook," Level II forms (i.e., standard BC Archaeological Site Inventory Forms) are available from the Archaeology Branch.