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

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Factors associated with angling license purchase frequency and fishing site choice for BC anglers

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-05-28
Abstract: 

A substantial proportion of anglers in British Columbia (BC) are infrequent, meaning that they do not purchase a license every year. Maintaining fishing license sales is an important objective of fisheries management and leads to stable revenue for conservation and management. To sustain participation, we must better understand the characteristics, license-purchasing habits and fishing site preferences of infrequent anglers, as well as differences between infrequent and frequent anglers. We employed a survey distributed to random BC anglers stratified by participation; a follow-up survey was used to assess non-response bias. The results showed that age, fishing skills and centrality of fishing to lifestyle, number of other anglers in household and usual time of license-purchasing influenced the anglers’ likelihood to be frequent license-purchasers. Choice modeling identified the differences in fishing site preferences (e.g., expected fish size, amenities) between the two angler groups and revealed what management actions would increase overall angler satisfaction.

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

Blue carbon storage and variability in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia

Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

Seagrass habitats store substantial amounts of organic carbon, known as 'blue carbon', We took sediment cores from the intertidal and subtidal zones of three eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, to assess carbon storage and accumulation rates. Sediment carbon concentrations did not exceed 1.30 %Corg, and carbon accumulation rates averaged 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, carbon stocks averaged 1343 ± 482 g Corg m-2, substantially less than global averages. Our carbon estimates are in line with results from other Z. marina meadows; Z. marina’s shallow root system may contribute to lower carbon storage. Sandy sediment, nutrient limitation, and low sediment input may also contribute to low carbon values. The larger, more marine influenced meadows with cooler temperatures resulted in larger total carbon stock. By improving the quantification of site-specific carbon dynamics, eelgrass' role in climate change mitigation and conservation can be assessed.

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)

Estimating detection probability and detection range of radiotelemetry tags for migrating sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the Harrison River, British Columbia

Date created: 
2018-03-01
Abstract: 

Radiotelemetry is a commonly used tool for tracking migration rates, estimating mortality, and revealing fish behaviour. However, researchers risk misinterpreting tag detection data by not appropriately accounting for signal detection probability or detection range of fixed antennas. In this study, I use generalized linear mixed effects models to estimate signal detection probability and detection range of six radiotelemetry tags at four fixed antenna sites. Detection probability differed among the four telemetry fixed sites despite identical techniques and similar receiver site equipment in a relatively small geographic area. The interaction of depth and distance demonstrated the greatest impact on detections at all sites. I conclude that rigorous testing of detection probabilities and detection range of test tags at individual receiver sites should be standard protocol for telemetry studies to optimize study designs and to ensure that appropriate inferences are drawn when telemetry data are used to support management decisions.

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

Policy makers or policy takers: How can cities contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Date created: 
2018-04-26
Abstract: 

This study explores the implementation of community energy policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. There are two components to this study. The first is a modeling exercise which uses an energy-economy model to evaluate policies in terms of their greenhouse gas emissions reductions for the city of Victoria, British Columbia. While there is significant potential for Victoria to reduce emissions and fossil fuel use in some sectors, additional policy from the federal and provincial government will be needed to drive deep emissions reductions and fuel switching. The second component is a survey directed at community energy practitioners in Canada. It explores the use of tools such as the model used in this study to help inform the implementation of community energy policy. The preliminary findings suggest that while policy makers are open to the use of analytical tools for policy evaluation, significant barriers to executing these analyses and implementing their recommendations exist at the local level.

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

Developing methodologies for First Nations community surveys: Considerations for the external researcher

Date created: 
2018-04-19
Abstract: 

Indigenous communities require good data for the advancement of self-determination, planning and development. Unfortunately, there is a lack of disaggregated data available for Indigenous peoples in Canada, especially at the community level. First Nations community surveys provide a tool to address this data gap by collecting culturally relevant community-specific data. However, although survey research methods are well documented in the literature, there is little information specific to survey methods in the Indigenous context. This research provides considerations and guidelines for methodologies specific to First Nations community surveys based on four case studies and a literature review of the general survey research methods. Findings illustrate that the survey guidelines from the literature cannot be applied directly to First Nations community surveys without modification. Recommended modifications include community involvement and modifying methods to incorporate and reflect the specific characteristics and interests of the First Nations community.

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)

Valuation and management of mudflats in the Yellow River Delta, China

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-13
Abstract: 

While many coastal wetland valuation studies have been conducted across China, and at different scales, only a few have been conducted in the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve (YRDNNR). Furthermore, these studies have been dominated by the use of the static valuation method, which does not fully reflect value trade-offs among ecosystem services and land use types when these change over time. Since deltas are characterized by naturally changing ecosystem conditions, a more complete valuation of the coastal wetland ecosystem in the YRDNNR is desirable. Using the Benefit Value Transfer (BVT) method, I take a dynamic approach that will fill the gap in previous research by reflecting the full range of economic trade-offs among land use types and ecosystem services across varying spatial-temporal scales in the YRDNNR. In addition, my study further considers the impacts of water-sediment regulation, where coordinated annual water and sediment flushing events were initiated behind upper river dams in the early 2000s. Together, I consider these influence on the total economic value (TEV) of the YRDNNR from 2000 to 2015. The study suggests that the water-sediment regulation had a positive impact on the TEV of the YRDNNR. Such information will help the local government and resource managers to understand how this dynamic delta system is changing over time and in response to management intervention. Ultimately, it is hoped this research will lead to solutions to enhance ecosystem services.

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

Who wants zero-emissions vehicles and why? Assessing the Mainstream market potential in Canada using stated response methods

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-26
Abstract: 

Extensive deployment of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) is likely essential for Canada to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs). To effectively promote ZEVs, it is critical to understand the factors that influence consumer interest in ZEVs. In this study, I surveyed 2,123 Canadians that intend to buy new vehicles to develop insights into “latent demand” among consumers, (that is, what demand would be if the ZEVs were fully available in the market), including ZEV-related preferences and possible underlying motivations for interest. Specifically, I analyze results from two stated response methods: design exercises and a stated choice experiment. First, the design exercises reveal that 21% of respondents are interested in ZEVs (a proxy for latent demand), where interest is primarily in PHEVs, followed by BEVs and HFCVs. ZEV-interested respondents tend to be younger and have higher education and income levels, and are also unique in measures of lifestyle engagement, values, and environmental concern. The design exercises also revealed that HFCV-interested respondents are distinct from PHEV- and BEV-interested respondents in their values and possible underlying motivations. Using data from the stated choice experiment, I estimated a latent class discrete choice model, and identified five unique respondent segments. Thirty-six percent of respondents fall probabilistically into segments which have strong preferences for ZEVs, 20% of respondents are undecided about ZEVs but remain open to them, and 44% of respondents prefer conventionally fueled vehicles. The latent class model indicates that respondents who prefer ZEVs are younger and have higher education levels, and have greater environmental concern, more environmental-oriented lifestyles, and stronger pro-social values. Results from this study indicate that financial subsidies and home recharging could be effective in increasing latent demand. Policy makers would be wise to consider the range of preferences and possible motives for ZEV interest when designing ZEV-supportive policy.

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

Citizen acceptance of unconventional fossil fuels in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-06
Abstract: 

Citizen acceptance can represent a significant barrier to the implementation of energy projects, which is increasingly relevant as unconventional fossil fuel production is forecasted to expand in Canada. I use a nationally representative survey sample of the Canadian population (n=1407) to examine citizen acceptance of five prominent unconventional fossil fuel developments: oil sands, Northern Gateway Pipeline, Trans Mountain Pipeline, Energy East Pipeline, and hydraulic fracturing. Across Canada, oil sands and pipeline developments tend to have lower acceptance than renewable energy and conventional oil, but more acceptance than nuclear and coal. Among Canadian regions, acceptance for unconventional fossil fuel developments is consistently higher among respondents in Alberta (the province where most fossil fuel development occurs), who are more likely to perceive economic benefits and less likely to perceive environmental and social costs. Opposition tends to be higher among respondents in British Columbia and Quebec. Acceptance levels are similar for oil sands and oil sands pipelines within all Canadian regions, while hydraulic fracturing has significantly lower acceptance in each region. Otherwise, regression analyses indicate consistent patterns of fossil fuel development acceptance across the full sample: biospheric and altruistic values and environmental concern predict higher acceptance, and egoistic and traditional values and trust in oil and gas companies predict lower acceptance. Results provide a number of insights to policymakers and stakeholders, including the strong regional differences in development acceptance, and how citizens perceive oil sands related projects quite differently from hydraulic fracturing development.

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.

Reduced water motion enhances organic carbon stocks in temperate eelgrass meadows

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-26
Abstract: 

Organic carbon (OC) storage in coastal vegetated habitats (blue carbon) is increasingly being considered in carbon financing and ecosystem-based management. Seagrass meadows have potential to sequester and store significant amounts of carbon, primarily belowground in the sediments beneath them. However, existing estimates are primarily from tropical and sub-tropical regions. On the northwest coast of North America, the magnitude and variability of seagrass carbon stocks, as well as local drivers of variability remain rare. We collected sediment cores from six eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, to quantify sedimentary OC stocks and accumulation rates. The top 20cm of sediments exhibited a 30-fold difference in OC stocks across meadows (185 - 5545 g OC m-2). Stocks in meadow interiors (1392 ± 928 SD g OC m-2) were 1.23 times greater than those along meadow edges (1130 ± 698 SD g OC m-2) and 1.42 times greater than adjacent unvegetated sediments (977.10 ± 516 SD g OC m-2). The top 20cm of sediment represented 21 to 74 years of accumulation, and OC accumulation rates ranged from 13 to 50 g OC m-2 year-1. Isotopic analysis of sediments (δ13C = 19.43%0 ± 3.25 SD) revealed that OC is largely derived from non-seagrass sources (terrestrial, benthic microalgae and/or macroalgae). OC stocks in the top 5 cm were most strongly influenced by water motion (Relative Variable Importance RVI = 0.81), relative to seagrass structural complexity (RVI = 0.21), and sediment size (RVI= 0.22). Specifically, higher OC stocks were associated with lower water motion, which may facilitate greater deposition of organic carbon particles and reduce rates of erosion and resuspension. This study highlights variability in carbon stocks at local scales with profound implications for estimating variability in carbon stocks at regional and global scales, typically unaccounted for in seagrass blue carbon estimates. To help account for this variability, we demonstrate that reduced water motion can indicate high potential for blue carbon storage in temperate soft sediment habitats.

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

Collecting Baseline Socio-Economic Data for Socio-Economic Impact Assessment: The Metlakatla Membership Census

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-03
Abstract: 

Socio-economic Impact Assessment (SIA) is a tool to assess the social, economic, health, and cultural impacts of a proposed plan or activity. Developing good baseline information is a crucial step in SIA because changes to valued social components may be more easily identified and assessed when they are compared to a baseline. For SIAs in Aboriginal communities, baseline socio-economic data are often unavailable or deficient. I examine community surveys as a tool to collect Aboriginal community-specific baseline data, through a case study of the Metlakatla Membership Census, a census-style survey designed and implemented in collaboration with the Metlakatla First Nation. I investigate the development, design, and administration of the census in 2015 and 2016, the first two years in which it was conducted. I discuss elements of the census that were successful, identify limitations and lessons learned, and make recommendations for similar initiatives in other settings.

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