Project Category : Forestry

Sundre Forest Products Historical Resources Management Program

Minimize the impact of Sundre Forest Products’ (SFP) forestry operations on the archaeological record and minimize the cost of historical resources management on SFP’s operating budget.

The Task

Minimize the impact of Sundre Forest Products’ (SFP) forestry operations on the archaeological record and minimize the cost of historical resources management on SFP’s operating budget.



Special Considerations

Sundre Forest Products’ Management Area (FMA) is one of the best-surveyed and most archaeologically rich areas in Alberta’s harvestable zones.

On average, 20-30 new archaeological sites have been found each year under SFP’s Annual Operating Plan. This has resulted in significant archaeological costs, delays, and development complications. Of particular concern to SFP was the fact that many of the sites were being found outside their planned impact areas.

Sundre Forest Products FMA extends from the Red Deer River to the North Saskatchewan, and from the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains to the east edge of the foothills. It includes a wide range of environments and topography. Parts of the FMA are very difficult to access.



Our Solution

Ember’s solution for minimizing the costs and disruptions of historical resources management, while protecting the archaeological resource is threefold:

  1. Work efficiently. Our forestry background and training, and extensive forest archaeology experience, means we can work in the Green Zone efficiently and safely. We work in efficient two-person crews with the right equipment (flat deck 4x4s and ATVs) to get where we need to be, get the work done, and get out.
  2. Only assess impact areas. Ember’s policy is to limit assessment to the development footprint.
  3. Minimize impacts. We worked with SFP and the Department of Culture and Status of Women to develop ground disturbance reduction strategies. These strategies, such as prescribing winter harvest and raw plant in areas identified by our predictive model as having high archaeological potential, will eliminate the need for archaeological survey of those developments. This will give Sundre Forest Products more control over when and where they incur historical resources management costs.




This program is a work in progress. The 2010 to 2021 historical resource management programs have resulted in the identification of hundreds of archaeological sites.

Some of these sites are very significant and add greatly to the archaeological record of the region. Using Ember’s assessment and evaluation methodology, less than a third of these sites have required development modification.

A constantly evolving predictive model of archaeological potential for Sundre’s FMA Area. It is being used at the harvest planning stage to give Sundre Forest Products more control over historical resources costs.

The industry wide implementation of impact reduction recommendations may occur in the foreseeable future.

We believe our approach gives SFP more control over their historical resources management costs, while simultaneously reducing their impacts on the archaeological record. Less fieldwork means we may find fewer sites, but we’ll protect more, at lower cost to the developer.

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