Resource and Environmental Management - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Art-based placemaking at Renfrew Ravine: Implications for sustainable places

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-12
Abstract: 

This research explores the role of placemaking at Still Creek, Vancouver, Canada. Placemaking is an integrative approach to public space management that aims to foster both sense of place and sense of community through a citizen-driven process. At Still Creek, a non-profit organization is engaging their neighbourhood using an interdisciplinary approach of arts and stewardship in collaboration with several community partners. Findings suggest placemaking is occurring at Still Creek through three key activities (e.g. festival, art in place, and environmental stewardship and restoration). Still Creek has become a place of interest, care and advocacy among those involved suggesting sense of place is present along with several community building elements as well. Implications for sustainable places are also explored

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Integrated Oceans Management Planning in Canada: An Evaluation of the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area Process

Date created: 
2017-08-28
Abstract: 

Over the past decade, there has been a surge of interest around the world in marine planning as an innovative approach to balancing sustainable development and conservation of the marine environment. In 2009, a marine planning process was initiated for a region called the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) in British Columbia, Canada. The final integrated oceans management plan for the PNCIMA was officially endorsed in February 2017. The collaborative planning process used to prepare the PNCIMA plan was evaluated using a multi-criteria evaluation method. The results show that the PNCIMA process had strengths and weaknesses: three of the twenty-six best practice criteria were met, thirteen were moderately met, and nine were unmet. Further, stakeholders reached consensus on some but not all elements of the PNCIMA plan. Recommendations are identified for design and management of future collaborative marine planning processes based on the PNCIMA evaluation.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thomas Gunton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Developing a trophic bioaccumulation model for PFOA and PFOS in a marine food web

Date created: 
2016-07-19
Abstract: 

Food web (or trophic) bioaccumulation models are useful tools for estimating the bioaccumulative tendencies of persistent organic pollutants, and are regularly used for regulatory assessment of industrial chemicals. Current models are mostly designed for neutral, lipophilic compounds, yet numerous compounds of concern are ionizable and/or proteinophilic, exhibiting unique bioaccumulation behaviour. In this study, an existing model was modified to evaluate bioaccumulation of two ionizable perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in a marine food web: perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The model was tested against measured concentrations of PFOA and PFOS from a bottlenose dolphin food web in Charleston Harbor, SC. Both compounds were expected to bioaccumulate in this food web. Predicted concentrations of PFOS were in better agreement with empirical measurements compared to PFOA. This study supports the utilization of holistic measures of bioaccumulation (i.e., the trophic magnification factor, or TMF), particularly in food webs containing water- and air-respiring organisms.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Frank Gobas
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

The unmaking of the Skeena River salmon fisheries as a social-ecological system

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-23
Abstract: 

Commercial salmon fisheries on the Skeena River in northern British Columbia have been a way of life, a vital part of the economy, and a valued support to community health and wellbeing in the region for over a century. In the last two decades a drastic curtailment of fishing opportunity has reduced commercial landings and fishing effort to less than 20% of where they stood in the mid-1990s and earlier. Ostensibly undertaken in the interests of conservation, the reduction in commercial access to salmon stocks is a much more complex story. This dissertation poses the question: what, if anything, would make commercial salmon fisheries on the Skeena “sustainable”? Starting from the premise that sustainability in fisheries is about more than the resource that is being harvested, I present a fishery-focused social-ecological system model that includes markets, communities, ecosystems and governance institutions. I situate the Skeena salmon fisheries in this model as a first step. I then turn to the management system to see how it addresses the issue of sustainability. Using a framework that was developed through the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN), I evaluate management on the Skeena over the past 30-40 years in three dimensions: ecological, socio-economic, and governance. Having shown that sustainability on the Skeena continues to be narrowly defined in terms of the productivity of salmon populations, I introduce a second model to represent how natural resources are meant to be exploited under conditions characteristic of “modernity”. I call this a “utilitarian control system” model: it shows how fisheries managers on the Skeena have been compelled to severely restrict the type and quantity of value extracted from the fishery in order to maintain an illusion of control over the resource production system. I conclude by presenting an alternative approach to sustainability that I term natural governance. Consisting of three primary systems – natural, governance and social – with three corresponding functions – diversity, legitimacy, and wellbeing – I apply the framework to the Skeena fisheries as a way of generating recommendations for how to begin the transition to a healthier relationship between human and natural systems.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Evelyn Pinkerton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Evaluating management strategies for grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

In British Columbia, The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations manages grizzly bear hunting as the most rigid and conservatively managed hunt in the province. However, there has been concern raised in the media and from some members of the academic community over the sustainability of grizzly bear hunting. It is unclear whether the current management strategy effectively incorporates uncertainties in grizzly bear biology and management. My research intends to address these concerns by utilizing a computer model to test the current provincial grizzly bear harvest management procedure, as well as other management options. Here, I developed a model to simulate grizzly bear population dynamics, provincial management, and hunting. Multiple sources of uncertainty were also included in the analysis. The results of this study highlight the potential benefits, challenges, and tradeoffs of three management options for grizzly bears given uncertainty in biological and management parameters.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Cooper
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Simulating regional effects of U.S. climate policies with the CIMS-US model

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-24
Abstract: 

In this project, I disaggregate the energy-economy model CIMS-US into four United States (U.S.) regions, Midwest, Northeast, South and Pacific/Mountain, to obtain regional resolution for climate policy effects on the electricity generation and transportation sectors. Five policies are modelled to reach climate targets previously set by President Obama: the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a coal and natural gas phase-out regulation, Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, and a Vehicle Emission Standard. Lastly, a carbon tax is applied across all sectors in the economy. My results show that Midwest is the most emission-intensive region. Due to the effects of pre-existing California climate policies, Pacific/Mountain experiences the lowest marginal abatement costs to decarbonize its electricity sector. Low marginal abatement costs can induce deeper reductions in full cycle emissions from electricity-powered vehicles. Because of insufficient regional variation in my results, I suggest an alternative disaggregation method.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Jaccard
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Garry oak ecosystem stand history in southwest British Columbia: Implications for restoration, management and population recovery

Date created: 
2017-04-12
Abstract: 

Understanding the ecological history of an ecosystem is essential in the development of management and restoration strategies. For example, the elimination of fire in Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystems often leads to encroachment by conifer species like Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). We used dendroecological methods to examine history and establishment patterns of three structurally different Garry oak ecosystem stands in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. We then assessed if reintroducing fire is an appropriate management and restoration tool in the different stand types. The combined Garry oak establishment histories from the three sites are broadly consistent with the regional pattern established in other studies. However, recommendations to use fire as a restoration and management tool are site dependent. Local characteristics, such as soil depth and land use change, may be the key to restoration strategies, especially in ecosystems with high fragmentation and challenging growing conditions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Kohfeld
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Assessing the profitability of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture in Canada with and without a deposit feeder component

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-11
Abstract: 

Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) has been proposed as a sustainable aquaculture technology that can help offset some of the environmental impacts of fed finfish aquaculture. My study builds on a previous financial analysis of salmon monoculture and IMTA in Canada by using a discounted cash-flow analysis (DCF) to examine the financial implications for investors considering investing in either (i) Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) monoculture, (ii) Atlantic salmon, blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), and kelp (Saccharina latissima) three-species IMTA, or (iii) Atlantic salmon, blue mussel, kelp, and green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) four-species IMTA. I found that three-species IMTA is more profitable than both Atlantic salmon monoculture and four-species IMTA, but that four-species IMTA has a lower net present value (NPV) than salmon monoculture if there is no price premium applied to IMTA salmon and mussels. Including a 10% price premium on IMTA salmon and mussels results in substantially higher NPVs for three-species and four-species IMTA compared to salmon monoculture. However, despite the positive indications of my study’s DCF and other IMTA-related financial analyses, ongoing uncertainty related to IMTA’s financial and environmental performance, and technological and managerial complexity, may be overriding barriers to IMTA adoption in Canada.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Duncan Knowler
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Exploring preference heterogeneity in agent-based models: An application in BC’s recreational Rainbow Trout fishery

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-21
Abstract: 

The inclusion of heterogeneous angler preferences could improve recreational fisheries management, yet to date exploration of the influence preference heterogeneity has on spatial patterns of angler effort has received little attention. To address this gap in the literature I developed an agent-based model (ABM) with agent behaviour grounded in a discrete choice experiment (DCE). I applied the agent-based model to the recreational Rainbow Trout fishery in the Omineca Wildlife Management Region, BC, and compared spatial patterns of angler effort and related fishing mortality for four models with varying specifications of preference heterogeneity. My results suggested that accounting for greater preference heterogeneity leads to a concentration of modelled angler effort on a preferred subset of lakes, both for the population and for sub-groups of anglers. Further, my results indicate that changes fishing mortality were not correlated with greater preference heterogeneity, but varied as a result of the changing composition of anglers at each lake site. The modelling approach developed could be used to inform management efforts in the Omineca region, providing insight into the composition and spatial distribution of anglers, in turn furthering efforts to develop group specific fishing experiences.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jonn Axsen
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Multi-scale environmental forcing of pacific salmon population dynamics

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-05-16
Abstract: 

Understanding how environmental forcing governs the productivity of marine and anadromous fish populations is a central, yet elusive, problem in fisheries science. In this thesis, I use a cross-system comparative approach to investigate how environmental forcing pathways could link climatic and ocean processes to dynamics of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) populations in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. I begin by showing that phytoplankton phenology and ocean current patterns are both strongly associated with inter-annual changes in salmon productivity, suggesting that two alternative environmental pathways may contribute to changes in salmon productivity: one mediated by vertical ocean transport and subsequent phytoplankton dynamics and the other mediated by horizontal ocean transport and subsequent advection of plankton into coastal areas. The relative importance of these pathways, however, may vary over large spatial scales because the magnitude and direction of the estimated environmental effects on productivity were conditional on the latitude of juvenile salmon ocean entry. I then use a probabilistic network modeling approach to show that changes in climatic and ocean processes can impact salmon productivity via multiple concurrent environmental pathways, including multiple pathways originating from the same climatic process. Finally, I use policy analysis to demonstrate why efforts to integrate highly migratory species, such as Pacific salmon, into ecosystem-based management policies need to explicitly account for mismatches between the scale of ecosystem services provided by these species and the scale at which human activities and natural processes impact those services. Collectively, my thesis provides empirical evidence that accounting for spatial heterogeneity and the relative importance of simultaneously operating environmental pathways may be critical to developing effective management and conservation strategies that are robust to future environmental change.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Cox
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.