Resource and Environmental Management, School of

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Consumers Continue To Be Confused About Electric Vehicles: Comparing Awareness among Canadian New Car Buyers in 2013 and 2017

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-14
Abstract: 

Despite policy support and technological progress, consumer adoption of electric vehicles remains limited globally. One important barrier to electric vehicle adoption may be limited consumer awareness. We investigate trends in consumer awareness, familiarity, and experience with electric vehicles by comparing cross-sectional survey responses from two representative samples of Canadian new vehicle-buyers collected in 2013 (n = 2922) and in 2017 (n = 1808). While a significantly higher proportion of 2017 respondents have 'heard of' key electric vehicle models, stated familiarity and experience are low for both samples. Further, about three-quarters of respondents in both samples are confused about the basic notion of how to refuel (or recharge) electric vehicles—and how these vehicles differ from hybrids. Conversely, over half of 2017 respondents report having seen at least one electric vehicle charger in public, which is more than double the proportion reported in the 2013 sample. These trends hold in analyses of three Canadian provinces, including two that have engaged in significant consumer outreach activities over this time frame. Overall, in contrast to expectations, our results suggest that consumer awareness remains low and stagnant, which may hinder market growth and inhibit the climate mitigation potential of electric vehicles.

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Article
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Low Blue Carbon Storage in Eelgrass (Zostera Marina) Meadows on the Pacific Coast of Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-06-13
Abstract: 

Seagrass habitats provide important ecosystem services, including their ability to take up and store substantial amounts of organic carbon, known as ‘blue carbon.’ However, the paucity of geospatial and carbon storage information along the Pacific Coast of Canada hinders the inclusion of blue carbon storage data in conservation planning and policy development in coastal habitats. We assessed the carbon storage and accumulation rates in three eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows in southern Clayoquot Sound on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. The intertidal and subtidal portions of each meadow were mapped and sampled to estimate eelgrass density, biomass, and carbon, and sediment cores were analyzed to estimate sediment carbon storage and accumulation rates. Aboveground biomass measurements were consistent with estimates for Zmarina in other regions, with average aboveground carbon biomass estimates of 16.78 g C m-2 and 16.25 g C m-2 in the intertidal and subtidal areas, respectively. However, the estimated aboveground to belowground biomass ratio was an order of magnitude higher than for seagrass species in temperate/tropical areas, largely because belowground biomass was up to 10 times lower than for other Zmarina meadows, averaging 6.17 g C m-2 and 5.03 g C m-2 in the intertidal and subtidal zones, respectively. Sediment carbon concentrations did not exceed 1.30%Corg, and carbon accumulation rates ranged from 2.90–39.61 g Corg m-2 yr-1, decreasing with depth and averaging 10.8 ± 5.2 g Corg m-2 yr-1. While sediment carbon stocks were generally higher in the eelgrass meadows relative to non-vegetated reference sites, carbons stocks averaged 1343 ± 482 g Corg m-2, substantially less than global averages. These carbon results confirm that eelgrass does contribute to carbon storage in Clayoquot Sound but at lower rates than identified for more tropical seagrasses. By improving the quantification of site-specific carbon dynamics, eelgrass’ role in climate change mitigation and conservation planning can be assessed.

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Article
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Expanded Consumer Niche Widths May Signal an Early Response to Spatial Protection

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-10-15
Abstract: 

Marine management interventions are increasingly being implemented with the explicit goal of rebuilding ocean ecosystems, but early responses may begin with alterations in ecological interactions preceding detectable changes in population-level characteristics. To establish a baseline from which to monitor the effects of spatial protection on reef fish trophic ecology and track future ecosystem-level changes, we quantified temperate reef fish densities, size, biomass, diets and isotopic signatures at nine sites nested within two fished and one five-year old marine protected area (MPA) on the northwest coast of Canada. We calculated rockfish (Sebastes spp.) community and species-specific niche breadth for fished and protected areas based on δ13C and δ15N values. We found that rockfish community niche width was greater inside the MPA relative to adjacent fished reefs due to an expanded nitrogen range, possibly reflecting early changes in trophic interactions following five years of spatial protection. Our data also demonstrated that the MPA had a positive effect on the δ15N signature of rockfish (i.e., trophic position), but the effect of rockfish length on its own was not well-supported. In addition, we found a positive interaction between rockfish length and δ15N signature, such that δ15N signatures of rockfish caught within the MPA increased more rapidly with body size than those caught in fished areas. Differences in rockfish size structure and biomass among fished and unfished areas were not clearly evident. Species of rockfish and lingcod varied in trophic and size responses, indicating that life-history traits play an important role in predicting MPA effects. These results may suggest early changes in trophic behavior of slow-growing rockfish due to predation risk by faster growing higher trophic level predators such as lingcod inside MPAs established on temperate reefs. Consequently, spatial protection may restore both the trophic and behavioral roles of previously fished consumers earlier and in measurable ways sooner than observable changes in abundance and size.

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Article
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Measuring Social-Ecological Resilience Reveals Opportunities for Transforming Environmental Governance

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-09-01
Abstract: 

Understanding the resilience of social-ecological systems can advance our ability to transform environmental governance and achieve ecologically sustainable and socially just outcomes. However, measuring this multidimensional emergent system property has been elusive. We translated theoretical principles of resilience into ecological and social metrics and used expert knowledge to assess how they have changed through three sequential governance regimes of the Pacific herring fishery in northwestern Canada. We showed a significant reduction in system-wide resilience between previous Indigenous and historical colonial governance regimes, and limited change with the onset of the latest environmental justice era. We also detected recent signs of recovery among several metrics of resilience, thereby signaling that this system exhibits the preconditions for governance transformation. Pinpointing the erosion and recovery of attributes that confer social-ecological resilience can reveal leverage points and highlight strategic pathways to enable deliberate transformation toward a more ecologically sustainable and socially just future.

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Article
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Drawing on Indigenous Governance and Stewardship to Build Resilient Coastal Fisheries: People and Abalone along Canada's Northwest Coast

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-10-11
Abstract: 

Small-scale indigenous abalone fisheries on the northwest coast of Canada persisted for at least two millennia prior to modern commercial and recreational fisheries that lasted for four decades before collapsing, causing a coast wide closure that remains today. What traditional governance and stewardship practices fostered resilient fisheries along Canada’s northwest coast and how might they inform collaborative institutions that foster ecologically sustainable and socially just coastal fisheries in future? In collaboration with two coastal First Nations, a policy analysis of northern abalone (GaalGuuhlkyan (Skidegate Haida), ǧaɫǧṇ̓íq̓ (Heiltsuk), Haliotis kamtschatkana) stewardship was conducted to assess where traditional and modern fisheries governance and management aligned or failed to align with seven theoretical principles of socialecological resilience. The analysis revealed that traditional principles of reciprocity and contingent proprietorship of clan-based fishing areas aligned with resilience principles whereas contemporary centralized decision-making and region-wide management policies did not. Moreover, current issues of power asymmetry and lack of trust need to be addressed to build a future indigenous-state governance approach to coastal fisheries. This research demonstrates how indigenous resource governance and stewardship practices generated over millennia of social learning and experimentation offer insights that could be broadly applied to foster resilient coastal fisheries today.

Document type: 
Article

Exploring the Relationship between Avalanche Hazard and Run List Terrain Choices at a Helicopter Skiing Operation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-09-12
Abstract: 

While guides in mechanized skiing operations use a well-established terrain selection process to limit their exposure to avalanche hazard and keep the residual risk at an acceptable level, the relationship between the open/closed status of runs and environmental factors is complex and has so far only received limited attention from research. Using a large dataset of over 25 000 operational run list codes from a mechanized skiing operation, we applied a general linear mixed-effect model to explore the relationship between skiing terrain that is deemed appropriate for guiding (i.e., status open) and avalanche hazard conditions. Our results show that the magnitude of the effect of avalanche hazard on run list codes depends on the type of terrain that is being assessed by the guiding team. Ski runs in severe alpine terrain with steep lines through large avalanche slopes are much more susceptible to increases in avalanche hazard than less severe terrain. However, our results also highlight the strong effects of recent skiing on the run coding and thus the importance of prior first-hand experience. Expressing these relationships numerically provides an important step towards the development of meaningful decision aids, which can assist commercial operations to manage their avalanche risk more effectively and efficiently.

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Article
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Monarch Butterfly Conservation Through the Social Lens: Eliciting Public Preferences for Management Strategies Across Transboundary Nations

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-08-22
Abstract: 

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), an iconic species that migrates annually across North America, has steeply declined in numbers over the past decade. Across the species' range, public, private, and non-profit organizations aim to reverse the monarch decline by engaging in conservation activities such as habitat restoration, larvae monitoring, and butterfly tagging. Urban residents can actively participate in these activities, yet their contribution can also be realized as an electorate body able to influence the design of conservation programs according to their interests. Little is known, however about their preferences toward the objectives and design of international monarch conservation policies. In this paper, we investigate these preferences via a survey design using Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) and Latent Class Analysis (LC) of urban residents across the main eastern migratory flyway in Ontario, Canada, and the eastern United States. Attributes in the DCE included the size and trend of overwintering butterfly colonies, the type of institution leading the conservation program, international allocation of funds, and the percentage of funds dedicated to research. From the general populace, we isolated respondents already engaged in monarch conservation activities to explore how they compare. We sent a smaller set of surveys deliberately withholding the expected-success forecast of the monarch recovery program to assess the value of information for urban residents within a conservation context. The LC distinguished three groups of respondents among urban residents: (1) the main group, labeled “Eager,” accounting for 72.4% of the sample, that showed a high potential for supporting conservation policies and had remarkable similarities with the monarch enthusiasts' sample; (2) a “Pro Nation” group (18.4%) marked by their increased willingness to support conservation initiatives solely focused within their country of residence; and (3) an “Opinionated” segment (9.23%), that was highly reactive to changes of the leading institution, resources allocation, and economic contribution proposed. Key findings from this research reveal that to maximize potential support amongst urban residents in the monarch's breeding range, a conservation strategy for the monarch butterfly should be led by not-for-profit organizations, should strive for transboundary cooperation, and should include the communication of anticipated ecological outcomes.

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Article
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Combining Data from Field Surveys and Archaeological Records to Predict the Distribution of Culturally Important Trees

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06-06
Abstract: 

Aim:  Indigenous communities involved in conservation planning require spatial datasets depicting the distribution of culturally important species. However, accessing datasets on the location of these species can be challenging, particularly when the current distribution no longer reflects areas with the full range of suitable growing conditions because of past logging. We test whether using occurrence data from community‐based field surveys and archaeological records in species distribution models can help predict the distribution of monumental western redcedar trees (Thuja plicata)—large, high‐quality trees suitable for cultural purposes such as carving dug‐out canoes, totem poles and traditional houses. This species is critically important to indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest of North America, but trees suitable for traditional carving and building are diminishing in abundance due to logging.

Location:  Our analysis covers the spatial extent of the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk First Nation, which encompasses a portion of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada.

Methods:  We built and compared species distribution models using the machine learning program, Maxent, based on occurrence data from field surveys and archaeological records of culturally modified trees.

Results:  Our findings highlight similarities and differences between the predictions from these species distribution models. When validating these models against occurrences from an independent dataset, the archaeological record model performs better than the field survey model. These findings may arise because the independent dataset was collected on an unlogged island—an environment that aligns more closely with the historic forest conditions revealed by the archaeological records than the current distribution revealed by the field surveys.

Main conclusions: We demonstrate and discuss the utility of using archaeological data in species distribution modelling and conservation planning when the target species is associated with shifting environmental baselines, data limitations and an important cultural resource.

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Article
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A Method of Deriving Operation-Specific Ski Run Classes for Avalanche Risk Management Decisions in Mechanized Skiing

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-01-28
Abstract: 

An in-depth understanding of the nature of the available terrain and its exposure to avalanche hazard is crucial for making informed risk management decisions when travelling in the backcountry. While the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) is broadly used for providing recreationists with terrain information, this type of terrain classification has so far only seen limited adoption within the professional ski guiding community. We hypothesize that it is the generic nature and small number of terrain classes of ATES and its precursor systems that prevent them from offering meaningful assistance to professional decision makers. Working with two mechanized skiing operations in British Columbia, Canada, we present a new approach for deriving terrain classifications from daily terrain assessment records. We used a combination of self-organizing maps and hierarchical clustering to identify groups of ski runs that have been assessed similarly in the past and organized them into operation-specific ski run hierarchies. We then examined the nature of the emerging ski run hierarchies using comprehensive run characterizations from experienced guides. Our approach produces high-resolution ski run hierarchies that offer a more nuanced and meaningful perspective on the available skiing terrain and provide new opportunities for examining professional avalanche risk management practices and developing meaningful decision aids.

Document type: 
Article

Plant Selection for Ethnobotanical Uses on the Amalfi Coast (Southern Italy)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

Background

Many ethnobotanical studies have investigated selection criteria for medicinal and non-medicinal plants. In this paper we test several statistical methods using different ethnobotanical datasets in order to 1) define to which extent the nature of the datasets can affect the interpretation of results; 2) determine if the selection for different plant uses is based on phylogeny, or other selection criteria.

Methods

We considered three different ethnobotanical datasets: two datasets of medicinal plants and a dataset of non-medicinal plants (handicraft production, domestic and agro-pastoral practices) and two floras of the Amalfi Coast. We performed residual analysis from linear regression, the binomial test and the Bayesian approach for calculating under-used and over-used plant families within ethnobotanical datasets. Percentages of agreement were calculated to compare the results of the analyses. We also analyzed the relationship between plant selection and phylogeny, chorology, life form and habitat using the chi-square test. Pearson’s residuals for each of the significant chi-square analyses were examined for investigating alternative hypotheses of plant selection criteria.

Results

The three statistical analysis methods differed within the same dataset, and between different datasets and floras, but with some similarities. In the two medicinal datasets, only Lamiaceae was identified in both floras as an over-used family by all three statistical methods. All statistical methods in one flora agreed that Malvaceae was over-used and Poaceae under-used, but this was not found to be consistent with results of the second flora in which one statistical result was non-significant. All other families had some discrepancy in significance across methods, or floras. Significant over- or under-use was observed in only a minority of cases. The chi-square analyses were significant for phylogeny, life form and habitat. Pearson’s residuals indicated a non-random selection of woody species for non-medicinal uses and an under-use of plants of temperate forests for medicinal uses.

Conclusions

Our study showed that selection criteria for plant uses (including medicinal) are not always based on phylogeny. The comparison of different statistical methods (regression, binomial and Bayesian) under different conditions led to the conclusion that the most conservative results are obtained using regression analysis.

Document type: 
Article
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