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

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Modeling climate policy: addressing the challenges of policy effectiveness and political acceptability

Date created: 
2011-03-10
Abstract: 

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a substantial amount will require aggressive climate change policies. Policy makers and the public are concerned that such policies could be associated with negative economic impacts, such as reduction in the growth rate of economic output, loss of international competitiveness, and concentration of costs amongst vulnerable demographic groups, regions, or economic sectors. The aim of this thesis is to show that the design of climate change policy has a substantial bearing on such economic impacts, to the extent that policy makers can effectively choose many of the likely economic impacts of a particular climate change policy through careful design. Conversely, inattention during climate change policy design can lead to undesirable economic impacts. The analysis is conducted with a series of computable general equilibrium models as well as an econometric model. These models are applied to examine both proposed and existing climate change and energy efficiency policies. Several findings emerge from the analysis. First, so-called ‘intensity-based’ climate change policies, which have been proposed in Canada for nearly a decade but which have met with much criticism, may be useful in promoting economic growth and maintaining international competitiveness. Second, under unilateral application of climate change policy, the international competitiveness of energy-intensive industries in developed countries is likely to be worsened. However, several policy mechanisms are available that substantially mitigate this loss in international competitiveness. Third, climate change policies are unlikely to result in a more unequal distribution of income in society, unless revenues from the policy are allocated in a equality-worsening manner. And fourth, past energy efficiency subsidies on average do not appear to have been cost-effective in reducing energy consumption.

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

Bioaccumulation of pollutants in Galapagos sea lions and marine mammals from British Columbia, Canada

Date created: 
2011-02-03
Abstract: 

Bioaccumulation is a key criterion to assess and manage commercial chemicals and pollutants recognized internationally in the United Nations Stockholm Convention for Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals Program in the European Union, the Toxic Substances Control Act in the USA and nationally the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Bioaccumulation is the process by which chemical concentrations achieve high levels in wildlife and humans, which can cause health effects and elevated health risks. To assess the degree of bioaccumulation and health effects of persistent organic pollutants in marine mammals, field studies of the bioaccumulation and health effects of these pollutants were conducted in a remote marine environment (Galapagos Islands, Ecuador) and in local marine ecosystems of British Columbia, Canada. The main findings of this work indicate that a number of persistent organic pollutants, including PCBs, DDTs and several other organochlorine pesticides biomagnify in Galapagos sea lions but are generally below concentrations associated with known effects. An increase in DDT concentrations was observed in Galapagos sea lions from 2005 to 2008, which may be related to the renewed use of DDT in malaria affected regions endorsed by the World Health Organization in 2006. PCB and PBDE concentrations were higher in Steller sea lions than in Galapagos sea lions. PCBs in Steller sea lions exceeded immunotoxic and endocrine disruption thresholds. To provide science-based tools for the management of pollutants, a bioaccumulation model for marine mammals was developed and tested. The model was applied to derive sediment target values for sediment remediation and for the derivation of ocean disposal permits in British Columbia. The application of the model shows that current sediment quality guidelines in Canada are not protective of the health of killer whales and Steller sea lions. Based on the model results, I recommend values that can be used as a basis for the derivation of sediment quality criteria for the protection of marine mammals in British Columbia. The findings support environmental management plans to mitigate chemical stressors of marine mammalian ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands and British Columbia.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dr. Frank A. P. C. Gobas
Dr. Peter S. Ross
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The existence value of Hawaiian coral reefs under conditions of climate changes

Date created: 
2011-03-04
Abstract: 

Hawaii’s coral reefs are highly productive ecosystems providing goods and services. Without the necessary research into the existence value of coral reefs and the potential willingness to pay for mitigation against climate change, managers and policymakers responsible for protecting the reefs are ill equipped to properly understand the limits and options for public involvement and support for funding programs, scientific initiatives and protection efforts. The purpose of this research is to provide tools and information beneficial for furthering the development of additional research and potential policies for climate change mitigation. The research uses a discrete choice experiment (DCE). Results show distinct segments of the population that are divided in their climate belief. Analyses of the findings are discussed along with implications of simulations for coral reef management and climate change mitigation strategies.

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)

The Dungeness crab (metacarcinus magister) fishery in Burrard Inlet, B.C.: constraints on abundance-based management and improved access for recreational harvesters

Date created: 
2010-12-08
Abstract: 

The British Columbia Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) fishery is important to a diverse group of users, generating considerable value to coastal communities. While current management strategies have ensured sustainability and conservation of the species, persistently high exploitation by the commercial fishery limits access to the resource for First Nation and recreational crabbers. I evaluated the constraints on two possible management actions aimed at increasing access for recreational users. In chapter 1, I found that establishing abundance-based management using existing survey designs has potential for high use, multi-sector crab fisheries such as Burrard Inlet: provided that biases due to variable catchability are accounted for. In chapter 2, I demonstrated how discrepancies in requirements and responsibilities between the recreational and commercial sectors limit the scope of harvest rights attainable by the recreational sector. Reducing these discrepancies would help justify the changes to the management framework required to increase recreational access.

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.

Understory light and vegetation in two floodplain forests in coastal British Columbia

Date created: 
2010-12-15
Abstract: 

Understanding the interactions of environmental and vegetation characteristics is necessary for effective ecosystem management. I examined how environmental heterogeneity affects understory vegetation within older floodplain stands in coastal temperate rainforests. In two one-hectare sites, I estimated vegetation and environment characteristics on a systematic grid and generated maps of understory light transmission. Both sites have ≥92% area in canopy gap or expanded gap and abundant (18% full sun), spatially variable understory light. Within sites, understory composition varies over short distances in correlation with light transmission. Shrub cover increases with light and may play a role in maintaining the amount and spatial pattern of canopy openness. At one site, point diversity decreases as light increases, suggesting that shady microsites can provide refugia from intense competition. Management practices encouraging canopy openness and spatial heterogeneity in second growth stands may accelerate development of similar processes and patterns; this prediction should be evaluated experimentally.

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

A comparison of the aquatic impacts of large hydro and small hydro projects

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-12-03
Abstract: 

The expansion of small hydro development in British Columbia has raised concerns surrounding the effects of these projects, and the provincial government’s decision to proceed with Site C has brought attention to the impacts of large hydro. Together, these decisions highlight that there are impacts associated with all energy development. My study examines the aquatic effects of large and small hydro projects using two case study sites: Site C and the Upper Harrison Water Power Project. I first determine the aquatic effects of each of the case study sites. Next, I use existing literature and benefits transfer to determine the monetary value of these effects. My results suggest that, with mitigation, small hydro projects have less of an effect on the environment than a large hydro project per unit of electricity. I also describe the implications of my study in the context of current British Columbia energy policy.

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

An in vitro method for obtaining intestinal biotransformation rates for benzo[a]pyrene and diethyl phthalate using using the Sprague-Dawley rat small intestine

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010-12-10
Abstract: 

An in vitro method for measuring depletion rates for two hydrophobic chemicals, benzo[a]pyrene and diethyl phthalate, has been developed using enterocytes from the proximal 50 cm of the rat small intestine. CYP1A1 activity of the enterocytes was determined and compared to the activity in rat liver S9 fractions by measuring luminescence. The CYP1A1 activity in S9 fractions was approximately 28 times greater than enterocytes (normalized to 106 cells). The apparent depletion rate of benzo[a]pyrene was found to be -0.65(± 0.31 S.E.)x10-3/min/106intestinal cells (n=1) whereas the depletion rate for diethyl phthalate was -0.049(± 0.11 S.E.)/min/106intestinal cells (n=3, p<0.05). Using isolated rat intestinal cells may not be the best method for measuring depletion rates in the small intestine because of the low CYP1A1 activity in the cells, the labour-intensive procedure for isolating the cells, and the presence of mucous in the cells.

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

Valuing the water purification/filtration service of temperate coastal rainforests in southwestern British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-11-05
Abstract: 

In British Columbia, a lack of understanding exists concerning the tradeoffs between timber harvesting and maintaining ecosystem services, where losses of these services can occur as externalities from the timber harvest. This study provides insight into such tradeoffs by estimating the value of a change in a forest’s water purification/filtration service, focusing on the quality of water as it becomes degraded from timber harvesting activities. I use an integrated economic-ecological model to quantify the economic impact of forest road induced sedimentation on raw water quality prior to its arrival at a municipal drinking water utility. I find that the economic value of the water purification/filtration service is more sensitive to traffic volume than aggregate road length and, therefore, should be subjected to more regulation in those watersheds that must consider the tradeoffs between the supply of clean drinking water and timber harvesting.

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)

Development and application of a methodology for the development of sediment quality criteria in British Columbia, Canada.

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010-08-06
Abstract: 

Although bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in food webs is well-recognized, this phenomenon is not currently incorporated into the methodology for developing sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) in British Columbia. The aim of this study is to develop and apply an empirical and modelling approach to the development of sediment quality criteria for the protection of marine mammals, using harbour seal pups as a proxy. An average empirical Biota-Sediment Accumulation Factor (BSAF) of 490 (lower SD 220, upper SD 1100) g-dry-weight sediment/ g-lipid-weight biota (n=6) was calculated for ΣPCBs, which was overestimated by the model predication (BSAF of 1000 g-dry-weight sediment/ g-lipid-weight biota). Using the empirical BSAF and a Threshold Effects Concentration (TEC) of 1.3 μg PCB/g lipid, a SQG for ΣPCBs of 0.82 ng/g dw is proposed in order to protect 95% of the pup seal population, which is not being achieved by the current SQG of 20 ng/g dw.

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

Improving wolf management practices on ranchlands in southwestern Alberta: An evaluation of two collaborative processes

Date created: 
2010-04-06
Abstract: 

This report examines the decision processes of two collaborative local initiatives that focused on reducing wolf-livestock conflicts in southwestern Alberta. The objectives of the study are to (1) assess the strengths and weaknesses of each initiative, (2) determine if, and how, such initiatives can build trust among stakeholders, (3) determine if, and how, such initiatives can design and implement effective mechanisms to reduce on the ground conflicts between large carnivores and livestock, and, (4) identify challenges and successes in using the evaluative criteria. The evaluation shows that both collaborative processes succeeded in gathering useful information for decision making and one initiative succeeded in its promotion function. Weaknesses included poor goal definition, lack of clarity in process, unclear stakeholder responsibilities, lack of evaluation and termination policies, and poor external communication. Despite these weaknesses, the results indicate that trust can be built and wolf-livestock conflicts can be addressed through such collaborative initiatives.

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