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

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Conserving musk deer in the wild: a comparison of direct payment and community wildlife management strategies

Date created: 
2011-06-14
Abstract: 

Community wildlife management and payment for ecosystem services are two promising strategies to conserve wildlife in developing countries. This research project applies a numerical simulation approach to compare both strategies in terms of conservation and economic development outcomes, using musk deer in Nepal as a case study. The optimal policy for a donor, who wishes to induce greater conservation outcomes, depends largely on the resource conditions such as biological growth rates, stock densities, and capture technologies. Community wildlife management performs well when resource conditions are good (e.g., higher stock levels) and/or when the technology is efficient at capturing animals. On the other hand, PES has the potential to induce better conservation outcomes at the margin of profit maximization and to serve as a more appropriate policy when stock sizes are too low. There is also the potential for a mix of both strategies to serve as the optimal policy.

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

Using commercial forestry for ecosystem restoration in sensitive badger habitat

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-07-25
Abstract: 

The American badger is endangered in British Columbia. Badgers inhabit grasslands and open forests, and badger habitat is threatened by forest ingrowth and encroachment related to wildfire suppression. Ecosystem restoration (ER) involves removing forest ingrowth and reintroducing prescribed fire. Commercial forestry can subsidize restoration work, but machinery may damage important badger burrows. We examined an ER cutblock within a designated badger wildlife habitat area. Badger burrows were placed in 5-7 m radius machine-free zones (MFZs) and surveyed before and after logging. Machine operators were trained to protect burrows, and we tested their ability to protect unmarked burrows. Pre-flagged MFZs protected almost all burrows within them (98%, n=258) from damage. Operators found only 9 of 38 unmarked test burrows, but also located and protected an additional 63 new burrows. We conclude that MFZs of 5-7 m radius are sufficient to protect badger burrows during logging operations when combined with operator training.

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

Exploring recreational angler heterogeneity in the Okanagan

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-06-13
Abstract: 

Participation in recreational angling in British Columbia has declined since the early 1990’s. Therefore, new fishery management strategies are being designed to attract anglers to the Okanagan region of British Columbia (Region 8). This study used a Discrete Choice Experiment and a Latent Class Model to identify unique groups of anglers within the Okanagan (Region 8), and to evaluate if the new management strategies align with anglers preferences for fishery characteristics. The results of the study identify and describe four heterogeneous segments of fishers, and determine that the new management strategies will provide attractive fishing opportunities for most Okanagan (Region 8) angler segments if they are implemented. These findings are supported by a Decision Support Tool which can be used by fishery managers to evaluate and refine management strategies for small mountain lakes in the Okanagan (Region 8).

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Wolfgang Haider
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Return of the stampeders: planning for sustainable on-shore cruise ship excursions to remote destinations

Date created: 
2011-03-01
Abstract: 

This study investigates the sustainability of an on-shore cruise ship excursion to the remote destination of Bennett, at the terminus of the Chilkoot Trail in northern British Columbia. A shore excursion assessment framework is developed using indicators selected from the literature on sustainable tourism. The framework is used to assess the social, environmental and economic impacts of the shore excursion to Bennett. The findings suggest that the shore excursion cannot be considered sustainable tourism because of substantial negative environmental and social impacts. The assessment provides evidence to support the adoption of a guided tour in Bennett, as well as increased stakeholder involvement in the planning and operation of the shore excursion. These recommendations may contribute to the sustainability of the shore excursion. The study demonstrates the usefulness of the assessment framework for generating site specific planning recommendations for sustainable on-shore cruise ship excursions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Wolfgang Haider
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

An economic analysis of shellfish production associated with the adoption of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-06-06
Abstract: 

Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) combines fed aquaculture (finfish) with extractive aquaculture (shellfish and seaweeds) at a single site to recycle nutrient waste while producing marketable seafood products. If finfish monoculture operations adopt IMTA widely, it could result in a significant increase in the production of extractive aquaculture products. The study explores the market implications associated with an increase in shellfish aquaculture production from IMTA adoption by finfish monoculture operations in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The study poses three main research questions: (1) on the supply side, by how much could IMTA shellfish production augment existing shellfish production from BC, (2) on the demand side, how might consumers of BC shellfish view the IMTA concept and value IMTA shellfish products, and (3) what could be the potential market implications of IMTA adoption on the west coast for the BC oyster industry? The study considers the possibility of oyster production associated with IMTA adoption by BC salmon farmers to address these research questions. Results of a production scenario analysis demonstrate that IMTA adoption can augment BC oyster production by between 9% and 237%, depending upon the number of BC salmon farms that adopt IMTA and the production quantity per farm. Results of a consumer intercept survey reveal that consumers of BC oysters in San Francisco have a positive perception of IMTA and the majority of respondents would be willing to pay a premium for IMTA oysters. IMTA oyster production in BC could substantially augment the market supply from BC, requiring a reduction in price to increase the quantity demanded or ways would need to be found to increase demand. New market opportunities could be developed in Asian countries, which require substantial enough volumes of production to be viable.

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

The potential impact of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) on the British Columbia geoduck clam (Panopea abrupta) fishery

Date created: 
2011-04-20
Abstract: 

I used fishery-independent survey data and catch curve analysis to assess the potential predation effects of sea otters on the British Columbia geoduck fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island, by estimating geoduck total mortality rates across a gradient of sea otter abundance. Linear regression provided strong evidence of a fishing effort effect on geoduck total mortality while the main effect of otters was not significant. Harvesters, however, have increasingly reported seeing sea otters eating geoduck; thus a more balanced study design and greater sampling intensity are needed to increase the power to detect whether sea otters affect geoduck harvests. This paper concludes with an examination of the different legislative mandates of fisheries and wildlife management in Canada, and establishes that artificially limiting the sea otter’s range in B.C. would be difficult under federal law and for socio-political reasons.

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

Evaluating national environmental sustainability: performance measures and influential factors for OECD-member countries featuring Canadian performance and policy implications

Date created: 
2011-02-01
Abstract: 

This research reviews five studies that evaluate national environmental sustainability with composite indices; performs uncertainty and sensitivity analyses of techniques for building a composite index; completes principal components factor analysis to help build subindices measuring waste and pollution, sustainable energy, sustainable food, nature conservation, and sustainable cities (Due to its current importance, the greenhouse gases (GHG) indicator is included individually as another policy measure.); analyses factors that seem to influence performance: climate, population growth, population density, economic output, technological development, industrial structure, energy prices, environmental governance, pollution abatement and control expenditures, and environmental pricing; and explores Canadian policy implications of the results. The techniques to build composite indices include performance indicator selection, missing data treatment, normalisation technique, scale-effect adjustments, weights, and aggregation method. Scale-effect adjustments and normalisation method are significant sources of uncertainty inducing 68% of the observed variation in a country’s final rank at the 95% level of confidence. Choice of indicators also introduces substantial variation as well. To compensate for this variation, the current study recommends that a composite index should always be analysed with other policy subindices and individual indicators. Moreover, the connection between population and consumption indicates that per capita scale-effect adjustments should be used for certain indicators. Rather than ranking normalisation, studies should use a method that retains information from the raw indicator values. Multiple regression and cluster analyses indicate economic output, environmental governance, and energy prices are major influential factors, with energy prices the most important. It is statistically significant for five out of seven performance measures at the 95% level of confidence: 37% variance explained on the environmental sustainability performance composite indicator out of 73%, 55% (of 55%) on the waste and pollution subindex, 20% (of 70%) on the sustainable energy subindex, 5% (of 100%) on the sustainable cities subindex, and 55% (of 81%) on the GHG indicator. Energy prices are relevant to Canadian policy; increasing prices could substantially improve Canada’s performance. Policy makers should increase energy prices through a carbon pricing strategy that is congruent with the ecological fiscal reform advanced by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Thomas I. Gunton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Picking patches: What is the utility of habitat fragmentation in determining habitat use by local populations of the Marbled Murrelet, Brachyramphus marmoratus?

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011-04-01
Abstract: 

We investigated the utility of measures of landscape and matrix composition and configuration in determining local breeding abundance of marbled murrelets, as indexed by radar counts of breeding murrelets taken during breeding season, in three areas of coastal British Columbia: Southwest Vancouver Island, the South and Central mainland coast. Using an information theoretic approach, we tested whether models including landscape composition and configuration could better predict local murrelet abundance than models utilizing habitat area alone, and whether model selection varied between regions. Models including measures of landscape composition and configuration do better predict local murrelet abundance than those based on habitat area alone, and associations between landscape components and murrelet abundance differ among regions. Algorithms currently used to identify murrelet habitat as suitable or unsuitable for protection do not consider landscape context. We recommend refining these algorithms to include measures of landscape composition and configuration.

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

Evaluation of the International Whaling Commission's revised management procedure for use in groundfish fisheries

Date created: 
2011-04-19
Abstract: 

Developed for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to manage a baleen whale fishery, the Revised Management Procedure (RMP) uses catch and abundance estimates to fit a simple population model and produces a target catch consistent with an acceptable probability level. When applied to a long-lived simulated groundfish species with low productivity, the RMP performed well once the no fishing benchmark was adjusted to a value more appropriate for a population with occasional, high recruitment. When compared to a simplified 40-10 strategy, the RMP closed the fishery much less frequently with similar average catches without depleting the population. When the population began at 20% of carrying capacity (K), it allowed rebuilding without closing the fishery. The RMP appears to be robust to changes in survey variability up to a CV of 90%, positive and negative survey bias, infrequent surveys, and changes in carrying capacity.

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

Comparing forest management practices under community-based and conventional tenures in British Columbia: an ecological perspective

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-14
Abstract: 

To shed empirical light on the debate surrounding the perceived ecological benefits of community forestry, I used multiple types of data to compare five community forests to geographically proximate conventional tenures. I used data generated from the BC Ministry of Forests RESULTS database to investigate proxy measures of ecologically sustainable forest management, including silviculture system usage, cutblock structural characteristics, and harvesting profiles. In addition, I conducted stakeholder interviews with fellow researchers to help inform the choice of proxy measures employed, as well as to provide a qualitative context for silviculture and harvesting data. Community forests are largely managing in a more ecologically sustainable manner than their counterparts. They are more likely to employ alternative silviculture systems, and out-perform their counterparts in certain measures of stand structure and representativeness of harvesting. However, variation exists among community forests, and some measures suggest areas in which improved management practices would be beneficial.

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