Geography - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Did FSC certification add value in BC’s Central Coast?

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-20
Abstract: 

The Central Coast of BC, part of the larger Great Bear Rainforest (GBR), has seen decades of conflict as Environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs), First Nations, community members and industry actors have collided over forest practices. This thesis evaluates whether Forest Stewardship Council Certification, a voluntary governance scheme enacted in 2009, has added value for these actors. Added value is conceptualized as a contribution to the goals or objectives of the organizations involved in FSC Certification and forest management. Added value is then situated in the context of a cross fertilization that occurred between government regulated Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) and FSC Certification. Empirically, information was obtained primarily from interviews with key stakeholders to understand organizational goals and how they relate to Central Coast governance and their interpretations of the role of certification. This thesis concludes that FSC Certification added non-economic value for Central Coast communities, First Nations and ENGOs through landscape level planning, performance based indicators and more comprehensive monitoring. Industry experienced subtracted economic value due to increased costs that did not result in any form of economic benefit.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alex Clapp
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Experiments on the morphological controls of velocity inversions in bedrock canyons

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-03
Abstract: 

A recent investigation of flow through bedrock canyons of the Fraser River revealed that plunging flows occur where the canyons are laterally constrained and have low width-to-depth ratios. An experimental investigation was undertaken to reproduce the plunging flow fields observed in the Fraser canyons and to explore the influence of morphological controls on the occurrence and relative strength of plunging flow in bedrock canyons. Observations show that the plunging flow structure can be produced by accelerating the flow at the canyon entrance either over submerged sills or through lateral constrictions at the top of a scour pool entrance slope. The occurrence and strength of plunging flow into a scour pool can be enhanced by sill height, amount of lateral constriction, pool entrance slope, discharge, and reduced width-to-depth ratio. Plunging flow greatly enhances the potential for incision to occur along the channel bed and is an extreme departure from the assumptions of steady, uniform flow in bedrock incision models, highlighting the need for improved formulations that account for fluid flow.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Venditti
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

How people green the port: Sustainability in Canadian ports

Date created: 
2017-04-04
Abstract: 

Canadian Port Authorities (CPAs) annually move $162 billion in international trade and in recent years have been faced with significant pressures to become environmentally sustainable. In response, CPAs have introduced numerous greening strategies with important implications for the dock labour force. This thesis focuses on the greening strategies undertaken by CPAs and their interplay with dockworkers; it identifies these greening strategies and assesses their implications for dockworkers. The thesis adopts a two-part methodology. First, greening measures undertaken by CPAs are categorized and compared. Second, a case study of Vancouver’s port is undertaken through interviews with a broad set of port actors in order to examine the links between labour and sustainability in the port. It is concluded that greening strategies have been an important, albeit uneven trend across CPAs and that dockworkers play an influential role in the greening of the port.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Hall
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Modelling the climate response to anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: time-dependent processes, commitment, and reversibility

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

This thesis gives insight into key aspects of the climate system response to anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. One characteristic is an approximately constant global mean surface air temperature (GMSAT) after cessation of emissions, but also changes in GMSAT to second order. Here it is shown that these second-order GMSAT changes are positive, i.e. there is a small committed warming from previous emissions, because the warming effect from declining ocean heat uptake dominates over the cooling effect from declining atmospheric CO2. The timing of zeroing emissions or the time horizon over which the warming commitment is calculated have minor effects on this warming commitment compared to the effect of the scenario prior to cessation of emissions. Another characteristic explored is the approximately constant ratio between GMSAT change and cumulative CO2 emissions (CE), referred to as Transient Climate Response to cumulative CO2 emissions (TCRE). It is shown that the TCRE diverges more strongly over time from a constant value under increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration than previously suggested. But it is approximately constant over time under constant CO2 concentration due to cancelling effects of changes in ocean heat and carbon uptake. Applying a wide range of sub-grid ocean mixing parameterizations does not change the temporal evolution of the TCRE significantly but leads to a wide range in the TCRE value. A third characteristic explored is irreversibility of sea level rise from thermal expansion (TSLR). It is shown here that TSLR under negative emissions does not return to pre-industrial levels for centuries after atmospheric CO2 has returned to pre-industrial concentrations. This result is robust against the choice of mixing parameter, although, generally an increased parameter leads to higher TSL rise and decline rates. The results presented in this thesis suggest that setting cumulative CO2 emission budgets in order to not exceed a certain warming target needs to be done with caution as the TCRE varies more strongly over time than previously shown and additional committed warming may lower allowable carbon budgets. Furthermore, TSLR is not linearly related to cumulative CO2 emissions and is slow to be reversed if net negative emissions are applied.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kirsten Zickfeld
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Towards a spatial imperative in public urban development geovisual analysis and communication

Date created: 
2016-11-28
Abstract: 

Despite advances in GIScience and geovisualization, public consultation for urban development often lack analytical depth or visualization methods that deliver transparent communication and democratic access. Typical methods for engaging the public include the use of architectural designs, artists’ renderings, engineering drawings, and physical models (Gill, Lange, Morgan, & Romano, 2013). These methods of urban development communication do little to accommodate portions of the population that are not design-oriented (Al-Kodmany, 1999). This thesis seeks to bridge the gap between GIScience, geovisualization, and urban development through the development of an evaluation framework for existing urban development visualizations. Next, it evaluates visualizations produced for a new development in the District of North Vancouver named “The Residences at Lynn Valley.” Following this evaluation, it proposes a set of visibility analyses that aim to reveal the intangible visual impact of future developments. This research provides the basis for future evaluative and analytical work in GIS and geovisualization for urban development.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nick Hedley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Towards a suburban spatial epidemiology: differentiating geographical patterns of cancer incidence, patient access, and surgical treatment in Canada’s urban fringe

Date created: 
2016-11-18
Abstract: 

Epidemiological studies have traditionally categorised study populations as urban or rural. However, a growing proportion of the global population resides in spaces that are neither dense urban cores nor rural/remote regions. These interstices are distinctly suburban, featuring a low density of services, poor walkability, and spatial isolation relative to their urban counterparts. Contrary to the dominant imaginary of the affluent ‘American Dream’, Canada’s suburbs are increasingly becoming home to socioeconomically deprived populations. Following from the well-established links between socioeconomic status and health geographies, this dissertation presents quantitative geographical evidence that the suburbs differ from their urban and rural counterparts, constituting a third, epidemiologically distinct space. The first substantive chapter provides an introductory tracing of the suburb’s socioeconomic history, laying the contextual foundation for a distinct categorisation. The following three chapters then draw upon this categorisation to differentiate spatial epidemiological patterns of cancer along both urban/suburban/rural and socioeconomic axes. The second chapter uses exploratory temporal mapping to document a recent emergence of oral cancer cases in British Columbia’s suburbs, geographically coincident with immigration from betel quid-chewing regions and an increase in local socioeconomic deprivation. The third chapter then explores head and neck cancer patients’ spatial access to cancer treatment centres across the province, highlighting significantly greater travel times among the most deprived suburban and rural populations. The fourth chapter evaluates whether these spatial and socioeconomic disparities reflect actual treatment rates, focussing on resection surgeries for five cancer types across Canada, excluding Québec. Resection rates were positively associated with socioeconomic deprivation in rural areas and inversely associated in urban areas, while the highest overall rates were observed in middle-SES suburban populations. Drawing upon these three cancer studies, this dissertation proposes a suburban spatial epidemiology, in which suburbs are differentiated from urban and rural spaces. I conclude by asserting that the suburbs’ unique placial contexts merit standalone attention in health research, calling for further examination of suburban spaces in epidemiological research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nadine Schuurman
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Effects of bigleaf maple on the growth and morphology of mature conifers in the southern coastal forests of British Columbia.

Date created: 
2016-11-22
Abstract: 

The influence of bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) on the growth of mature conifers in the coastal forests of British Columbia has not been previously assessed. I used a paired plot design to evaluate the influence of mature bigleaf maple on the growth and morphology of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). Twelve conifer plots including bigleaf maple trees in the center (BLM) were paired with twelve plots that had only conifers present (DF). For the Douglas-fir and western hemlock growing in these plots, the diameter at breast height (DBH), height, age, volume, canopy morphology, site index, stand basal area, tree density and competition index were compared using paired-t tests between BLM and DF plots. Cores taken from Douglas-fir and western hemlock trees were used to assess growth chronologies; and radial growth rates and basal area increment (BAI) were compared between BLM and DF plots. There were no significant differences in tree height, tree age, site index or competition index for both Douglas-fir and western hemlock, and DBH for Douglas-fir, when compared between BLM and DF plots. DBH was greater for western hemlock in BLM as compared to DF plots. Both Douglas-fir and western hemlock that were growing next to bigleaf maple had significantly higher radial growth rates and BAI than Douglas-fir and western hemlock surrounded by conifers only. BLM plots did not have a different standing wood volume (total or conifer-only) than DF plots. My findings suggest that the inclusion of bigleaf maple in conifer stands could enhance biodiversity without negatively affecting timber production.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Margaret Schmidt
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Seasonal Methane Dynamics in Lakes of the Mackenzie River Delta, Western Canadian Arctic

Date created: 
2016-08-22
Abstract: 

Methane (CH4) dynamics were investigated in lake-waters of the Mackenzie River Delta in 2014 and 2015 to estimate CH4 emissions and evaluate potential drivers of seasonal CH4 dynamics. Water-column CH4 and related variables were measured at end-of-winter and tracked through open-water in up to 43 lakes, plus water-column CH4 oxidation (MOX) and water-to-atmosphere emissions were measured in 6 lakes. Under-ice CH4 accumulations were high by end-of-winter, with levels in some lakes greater than 20 years prior. Water-column CH4 and carbon-quantity are positively related regardless of season, however, relationships between CH4 and carbon-quality are strikingly different between winter and open-water. CH4 is inversely related to pH, which, surprisingly, also negatively affects MOX. MOX is highest at ice-out and decreases over open-water. Based on areal-weighted fluxes, Mackenzie Delta lakes emitted 35.79 Gg of CH4, with 24% occurring at ice-out, and during open-water 50% and 26% respectively occurring via ebullition and diffusion.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lance Lesack
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Reducing harm through food and work: incorporating food security and peer employment in harm reduction programming

Date created: 
2016-09-06
Abstract: 

Food is usually provided in harm reduction settings, like needle exchanges, low-barrier shelters, and drug consumption rooms. These spaces are often staffed by people who use drugs (PWUD) and/or living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) who serve their peers. Yet, there is little comprehensive discussion of how food and peer work fit into organizations with a harm reduction orientation (OHRO) for low-income PWUD/PLWHA. Drawing on 27 semi-structured interviews with OHRO in Greater Vancouver, Canada, this thesis explores the variegated regional landscape of food, peer work, and harm reduction using literatures on harm reduction, poverty management, the shadow state, and foodscapes. Results demonstrate that OHRO are important nodes in low-income PWUD/PLWHA foodscapes, but that they do not systematically integrate food programming with their harm reduction philosophies. Similarly, peer employment is widespread, but organized in ways that can compromise harm reduction goals. I conclude with recommendations to improve food access, and employment for PWUD/PLWHA.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eugene McCann
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The place of geographic information and analysis in global health: A case of maternal health in regions of southern Mozambique

Date created: 
2016-08-26
Abstract: 

Maternal ill-health is a major global health burden, responsible for approximately 350000 deaths every year. While this is a very high figure considering that most maternal deaths are avoidable, it represents close to a 45% reduction in maternal death rates from 1990, and is a largely the result of successful clinical strategies that were pioneered through the Millennium Development Goals. However, emerging strategies in global maternal health now acknowledge the broad nature of the socio-cultural and environmental determinants associated with maternal health, and call for multi-sectoral approaches to complement the dominant clinical perspectives. While there is mounting evidence on the importance of the social determinants of health, there are multiple challenges associated with identifying, measuring and taking action on the context specific determinants of health.This dissertation posits that some of the techniques that have been developed in the discipline of health geography offer potential to address these challenges. The objectives of this dissertation were to implement geographic methods for identifying and measuring the context relevant determinants of maternal ill-health, and to elucidate the place specific characteristics of associations between these social determinants and maternal health outcomes. The thematic premise of this dissertation was partly determined through extensive exploration of literature on what is known concerning the use of geographical information systems in maternal health. The core empirical work supporting this dissertation was completed in the southern region of Mozambique and addressed the objectives through both qualitative and quantitative exploration, identifying community perceptions of these determinants and validating them using geostatistical methods. Key data challenges concerning the use of geographical analysis are also addressed. Chiefly, this dissertation contributes a suite of methods that demonstrate how to measure the social determinants of maternal health. While this research was conducted in Mozambique and addresses maternal health, the geographic approach highlighted in this work could be used to understand other health concerns and in different places.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nadine Schuurman
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.