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

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Cultural Values in Cumulative Effects Management: A Case Study with the Metlakatla First Nation

Date created: 
2017-08-28
Abstract: 

Conventional approaches to environmental impact assessment and cumulative effects assessment (CEA) have largely failed to incorporate the cultural values of Aboriginal communities and have inadequately addressed the negative impacts of development on these values. The main objective of this study is to develop and demonstrate an improved methodology for identifying and assessing cultural values to inform CEA and other decision-making processes. After reviewing the major weaknesses and recommendations discussed in the literature on CEA and cultural values, I describe the new method and demonstrate its application as part of an innovative cumulative effects management program instituted by the Metlakatla First Nation for their traditional territory in northwestern British Columbia. I compare my results with the results of a recent conventional assessment conducted for the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project in Metlakatla territory. The new method provides useful information to support Metlakatla efforts to maintain their culture, language, and practices.

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

"Now we learn to live with it": Katzie cultural resilience and the Golden Ears Bridge.

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-23
Abstract: 

Despite 150 years of transformative environmental, social, and economic change Aboriginal Peoples in Canada maintain their distinctive identities and cultures. The perseverance of indigenous peoples is of particular interest to scholars studying resilience. Defined variously as a process, trait, or outcome, resilience is a malleable concept used to help explain how individuals, communities, or interlinked social-ecological systems respond to change. I use mental health and ecology-based resilience models to examine how the q́íćəý (Katzie) First Nation of southwestern British Columbia responded to changes imposed by the Golden Ears Bridge—a six-lane bridge built through the centre of their traditional fishing grounds. I conclude that Katzie responses to change, including those imposed by the Golden Ears Bridge, illustrate how Katzie cultural values serve as resilience pivots. These resilience pivots act as the stable core of Katzie culture, helping to perpetuate Katzie identity despite historical and ongoing physical, social, and economic transformations. I expand resilience discourse concerning power and agency via a critical analysis of the Golden Ears Bridge Benefit Agreement negotiation. I conclude that despite the power imbalances that influenced the outcomes of Golden Ears Bridge Benefit Agreement negotiation, Katzie agency continues to influence power dynamics at grassroots and at broader sociopolitical scales, albeit slowly and incrementally. As Katzie and other First Nations achieve greater decision-making power they challenge ideological imperatives that prioritize a prevailing definition of progress as economic growth and urban expansion.

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

Vancouver stream restoration practices: Piloting a community-based monitoring framework along Still Creek

Date created: 
2017-12-01
Abstract: 

The number of urban stream restoration projects implemented by local governments has expanded exponentially; however, these projects are rarely monitored to assess effectiveness. Community-based monitoring can overcome monitoring challenges, and build community capacity. Still Creek located in Vancouver, BC, provides a case study for creating a community-based monitoring framework and protocol to collect information relevant to local government. The indicator framework is composed of three indicators: (1) Benthic invertebrate diversity, (2) Visual habitat assessment, and (3) Riparian terrestrial biodiversity. Volunteers for data collection were recruited through Meetup.com. Community-based monitoring comes with practical concerns and limitations; however, the data collected can inform continued adaptive management of urban stream restoration projects. Recommendations for Still Creek include establishing a maintenance schedule, with associated roles and budget; further education and awareness initiatives within the community; continued community-engagement; and continued watershed-wide and reach-scale restoration efforts.

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)

Food Sovereignty and Community Development: Shellfish Aquaculture in the Nanwakolas First Nations

Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

Aquaculture is promoted by governments and industry as a solution to the impending crisis of a growing and hungry world population, although technological solutions to food shortages have historically had social consequences. In partnership with the Nanwakolas Council, we researched the social and economic impacts of land-based aquaculture development with a focus on a potential shellfish hatchery. The two aims of the project were 1) to develop a Sustainability Assessment tool that the community could use to assess such projects and 2) to investigate the likely impacts of a potential shellfish hatchery in relation to food systems. First, we found that the Nanwakolas’ existing Community Wellbeing Wheel could be developed into a Sustainability Assessment framework by testing it with a community dialogue about a potential shellfish hatchery. We identified gaps in the first iteration of the framework as recommended improvements in several sustainability dimensions, along with the proposed new sustainability dimension of Community Capacity. Next, we explored a shellfish hatchery from the perspective of food sovereignty using the Nyéléni conference principles as an analytical framework to analyze interview and dialogue responses. We isolated some of the strengths and weaknesses of a shellfish hatchery for Nanwakolas food sovereignty, particularly highlighting ways in which this non-traditional method of food production might build sovereignty and resource governance capacity. Additionally, our results indicate that a discussion between consumption vs. commodification of community food resources over-simplifies the possible paths to food sovereignty, as defining production can itself help build food sovereignty. Lastly, we found Community Capacity to be an underlying limit to food sovereignty, but also something that the Community Wellbeing Wheel could specifically address through future community dialogue.

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

Assessing Canada-British Columbia climate policy design and interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-04
Abstract: 

This study tests alternative climate policy scenarios to provide useful information to decision-makers. The first component of this project evaluates how Canada, when viewed from a national perspective, can best achieve a greenhouse gas target. This was done by using the hybrid energy-economy model CIMS to simulate and compare policy approaches. For the second component, I modeled British Columbia to explore policy designs for integrating provincial climate policy with the broader national targets and efforts. Special emphasis was placed on designing policies that could gradually align initiatives by all regions and all levels of government in Canada with a similar, nation-wide marginal cost of emissions reduction. To account for the uncertainty of future natural gas production, I incorporate a sensitivity analysis by modeling each scenario in British Columbia twice, either under the assumption that liquefied natural gas is developed or absent in the province.

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)

Applying a systems approach to assess carbon emission reductions from climate change mitigation in Mexico’s forest sector

Date created: 
2017-10-04
Abstract: 

Mexico was the first Non-Annex I country to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and its Climate Change Mid-Century Strategy in accordance with the Paris Agreement of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since 2012, the Mexican government through its National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), with support from the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the Forest Services of Canada and USA, the USA SilvaCarbon Program and research institutes in Mexico, has made important progress towards the use of carbon dynamics models to explore climate change mitigation options in the forest sector. Following a systems approach, here we assess the biophysical mitigation potential of forest ecosystems, harvested wood products and substitution benefits, for policy alternatives identified by the Mexican Government (e.g. net zero deforestation rate, sustainable forest management). We provide key messages and results derived from the use of available analytical frameworks (Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector and a harvested wood products model), parameterized with local input data in two contrasting states within Mexico. Using information from the National Forest Monitoring System (e.g. forest inventories, remote sensing, disturbance data), we demonstrate that activities aimed at reaching a net-zero deforestation rate can yield significant CO2e mitigation benefits by 2030 and 2050 relative to a baseline scenario (“business as usual”), but, if combined with increasing forest harvest to produce long-lived products and substitute more energy-intensive materials, emissions reductions, could also provide other co-benefits (e.g. jobs, reduction in illegal logging). The relative impact of mitigation activities is locally dependent, suggesting that mitigation strategies should be designed and implemented at sub-national scales. Thus, the ultimate goal of this tri-national effort is to develop data and tools for carbon assessment in strategic landscapes in North America, emphasizing the need to include multiple sectors and types of collaborators (scientific and policy-maker communities) to design more comprehensive portfolios for climate change mitigation.

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

Linking avalanche hazard in Western Canada to climate oscillations

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-08
Abstract: 

While the effect of large-scale climate patterns (e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation) on winter temperature and precipitation in Western Canada is relatively well understood, little is known regarding the link between climate and avalanche hazard. Previous studies have been hindered by the inconsistent or incomplete avalanche, weather, and snowfall observations. Using avalanche hazard assessments from Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada from the 2009/10 to 2016/17 winter seasons I examined the nature and variability of avalanche hazard and the relationship to large-scale climate patterns. I identify typical avalanche hazard situations and calculate their seasonal prevalence to develop a quantitative measure of the nature of local avalanche hazard conditions. I then use the prevalence values of typical hazard conditions to examine the relationship between climate oscillations and avalanche hazard. This study suggests a relationship between the climate patterns and avalanche hazard situations with a method that is more informative for avalanche risk management.

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

Causes and consequences of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) deep spawning behavior

Date created: 
2017-08-31
Abstract: 

Shifts in the reproductive strategies of marine species can result from ecological disturbance and often lead to either harmful or adaptive population−level effects. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) can exhibit remarkable plasticity in spawn density and spatial distribution, shifting in response to both climatic and anthropogenic pressure. To test alternative factors leading to recently observed and previously uninvestigated deep spawning events (−30 m, 8 x the preceding 25-year mean), we surveyed spawn sites varying in motorized boat traffic, predator density, and sea surface temperature, and conducted a field experiment to test depth effects (at −3, −15, and −30 meters) on the survival rates of herring eggs exposed and protected from predation. We found herring spawn to −44 m, and strong evidence for a positive relationship between depth of suitable habitat and maximum spawning depth (with a possible link to surface temperatures), which was magnified when spawner density was high. This result is consistent with historical records of fisheries independent survey data collected from 1989 to 2015, showing an increase in maximum spawning depth with greater biomass of spawners. Finally, experimental evidence indicated that egg survival decreased, on average, by 20 % at −30 m relative to −3 m depths. If declining trends in spawning distribution continue as sea temperatures rise, the prevalence of deep spawning events may expand as herring become further concentrated into deep fjords and smaller geographic areas, adding further risk to already declining stocks.

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

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)