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

Receive updates for this collection

Evaluating BC's Community Forest Agreement program as a tool for source water protection

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-08-17
Abstract: 

The government of British Columbia introduced the Community Forest Agreement program (CFAP) in 2003. The program offers opportunities for communities to gain a degree of control over their surrounding forests through a form of timber tenure. Some communities have acquired a Community Forest Agreement with the intention of using it to protect the watersheds that provide their drinking water. This study evaluates the opportunities provided by the CFAP for source water protection and seeks to understand what changes communities and government could make to improve these opportunities. The experiences of the Harrop-Procter, McBride, and Creston community forests are used as case studies. The study concludes that community forests have been successful at protecting their source watersheds over the short term through the CFAP. It also recommends changes to forest planning approaches, governance arrangements, business structures, and tenure arrangements that could help improve long-term opportunities for community-based source water protection.

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

Seeking certainty: a political ecology of shellfish aquaculture expansion on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Date created: 
2010-08-03
Abstract: 

This dissertation documents the expansion of private access ocean tenures for shellfish aquaculture into the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. The research illustrates how treaty making, promoted as a path to sovereignty for Aboriginal peoples, encouraged Nuu-chah-nulth participation in the nascent shellfish aquaculture industry and facilitated tenure expansion in Nuu-chah-nulth territory. The findings identify the potential that economic development programs in Aboriginal communities have to create uncertainties for non-industrial resource use, and to exacerbate vulnerability. The work also elaborates on the dynamics of politics and power in treaty making in British Columbia, and invites critical reflection on contemporary approaches to Aboriginal relations in the province. Informed by literatures regarding governance and neoliberalism, the dissertation builds around a case study of a shellfish aquaculture venture owned and operated by one Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation, the ka:’yu:’k’t’h/che:k:tles7et’h’. Facilitated by treaty mechanisms, the venture arose in the year 2000 and has faced difficulties in achieving profitability. In building and contextualizing the case, the dissertation: (1) highlights the diverse values that Nuu-chah-nulth peoples draw from the harvest of wild-growing shellfish; (2) presents a history of the shellfish aquaculture industry and the effort to place more ocean-based tenures in the province; (3) questions calculations regarding the economic potential of shellfish aquaculture in BC; (4) conveys the role of treaty-related instruments and experts in the ka:’yu:’k’t’h/che:k:tles7et’h’ venture; and, (5) identifies institutional change resulting from the 1998 Provincial Shellfish Development Initiative. The research is qualitative and employs both structural and discursive analysis. Ethnographic data was collected in ka:’yu:’k’t’h/che:k:tles7et’h’ territory during several field stays 2005-2008. Public discourse, testimonies to political committees, policy and treaty documents, and business plans are also central. I conclude that the equitable management of ocean space in British Columbia requires ongoing research regarding the allocation and retention of ocean-based tenures in Aboriginal communities, and the application of cost-benefit analysis that accurately accounts for local realities in decisions about the use of coastal resources.

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

Planning a sustainable approach to community forest management with the Katzie First Nation at Blue Mountain and Douglas provincial forests

Date created: 
2010-06-09
Abstract: 

The British Columbia Community Forest Agreement program (CFA), founded by the province in 1998, provides a forestry tenure option for communities to engage in, and benefit from, local forestry activities. As the program grows, First Nations are increasingly applying for CFA tenures to gain management control over traditional forested territory and to provide economic and social benefits to their communities. Despite increased Aboriginal interest in community forestry, the opportunities and challenges associated with engagement in the CFA program have yet to be evaluated from a First Nations’ perspective. Through a case-study of the forest management priorities of the Katzie First Nation of the lower Fraser Valley, B.C., this study examines how the needs and priorities of B.C. Aboriginal communities can be met through CFA policy. The study concludes with recommendations for First Nations and CFA policy administrators to generate effective community forest agreements suited to First Nation participation.

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

Examination of speckled dace abundance, biology, and habitat in the Canadian range

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-06-25
Abstract: 

The Speckled dace, Rhinichthys osculus, a small cyprinid species, was listed as endangered under the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2009. This species exists throughout the western United States, but in Canada it lives in the Kettle, West Kettle, and Granby Rivers in southern British Columbia (BC). I conducted field work in 2008 to assess the abundance, range, biology, and habitat use of this species. I estimated that there were 940,000 mature Speckled dace (90% confidence interval 412,000 – 1,955,000) in the watershed in 2008, a much larger number than previous estimates. I found that the species is longer-lived than previously thought, up to age 7-years. I recommend that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and the BC Conservation Data Centre re-assess this species, and that a procedure for setting conservation priorities be developed within SARA, similar to the BC Conservation Framework.

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

Social learning as a tool to understand complex adaptive management institutions

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-06-09
Abstract: 

Social learning has been found to facilitate the effectiveness of resource and environmental management decision making. The Washington Forest Practices Adaptive Management Program is a collaborative institution whose participants include a diverse array of forest stakeholders. Over 20 years ago the first iteration of this program began with a shared spirit of learning. This report examines the status of social learning in the program today and, in areas where social learning is low, potential causes of this impasse are explored along with possible opportunities to overcome current obstacles and foster future learning. While collaborative processes are often recommended in environmental decision making, the study of the effectiveness of these processes over periods as long as two decades is rare. The objective of this research is to provide insight into social learning issues which emerge in long term collaborative partnerships.

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

Mitigating human-black bear conflicts by understanding spatial patterns and associated site characteristics

Date created: 
2010-07-23
Abstract: 

Conflict with humans poses a serious risk to the viability of carnivore populations worldwide. Identifying effective non-lethal management strategies demands an understanding of the interplay among multiple drivers of conflict at the scale of conflict situations. I quantified the spatial patterns of human-bear conflict in Whistler, Canada with utilization distributions of conflict incidents. I examined the strength of evidence for the effects of landscape and habitat variables associated with conflict using Resource Utilization Functions, Generalized Least Squares, and model selection. Seasonality emerged as a determinant of spatial variability of conflict with bears using more concentrated attractants in the fall than in the summer or spring. No covariates could be identified as drivers of conflict at a local scale despite the pressing need to design management interventions at this scale. This lack of predictability underscores the necessity for responsive adaptive management policies to reduce human-carnivore conflict in increasingly human-dominated landscapes.

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

Utilization of two-stage single-pass electrofishing to estimate abundance and develop recovery-monitoring protocols for the endangered Nooksack dace (Rhinichthys cataractae) in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-10-21
Abstract: 

I demonstrate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a two-stage sampling method for estimating abundance of Nooksack dace (Rhinichthys cataractae), an endangered minnow in Canada. This two-stage process involves single-pass sampling, followed by calibration of single-pass sampling capture efficiency using a mark-recapture method. Based on this two-stage method, my estimated abundances in the Brunette River, Bertrand Creek, Pepin Creek, and Fishtrap Creek were 2,763 fish (95% confidence intervals (CI): 1,823-4,537), 4,359 fish (95% CI: 2,499-7,991), 30 fish (95% CI: 12-136), and 0 fish, respectively. My presence-absence model demonstrated that mean water depth, mean water velocity, and level of substrate embeddedness are important habitat characteristics affecting presence of Nooksack dace in riffle habitats. To assess the long-term recovery of this species, I recommend conducting monitoring at 5-year intervals by sampling 15 to 25 sites in each stream using my two-stage method, resulting in a total annual monitoring cost of about $23,700.

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

The greenhouse gas impacts of burning post-harvest debris piles on Vancouver Island, BC

Date created: 
2011-09-06
Abstract: 

It is increasingly important to identify climate change mitigation opportunities at different scales within all sectors. Avoiding burning of post-harvest debris piles may be a viable regional-scale mitigation strategy within the forestry sector. I used the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector to simulate alternate burning scenarios over 2008-2050 and greenhouse gas (GHG) consequences over 2008-2250. The results show that the delayed release of carbon (through decomposition rather than burning) provides a benefit that persists for decades to centuries. Burning debris also releases a fraction of the stored carbon as CH4 and releases N2O, both of which are more powerful GHGs than CO2. The quantity, form and timing of GHGs released are all critical components to address when evaluating the net climate impact of human activities. When applied across a large landscape over several decades, avoiding debris burning makes a meaningful contribution to a regional mitigation portfolio.

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

Influence of hydrometeorological controls on debris flows near Chilliwack, British Columbia

Date created: 
2011-08-18
Abstract: 

This study aims to identify hydrometeorological variables near Chilliwack, BC which have initiated past debris flows in order to gain insight about conditions that could inform emergency planning and adaptation in future. A database of storms between 1980 and 2007 and their hydrometeorological characteristics including storm total rainfall and duration, intense rainfall total and duration, and 1 to 4 week cumulative antecedent rainfall were compiled. Stepwise logistic regression was used to determine a model which isolated intense rainfall total and occurrence of storms during the rain-on-snow season as the most significant variable distinguishing between debris flow and non-debris flow storms. However, the low predictive power of this analysis suggests that other characteristics, such as land-use, sediment supply, and snow melt may play a large role in debris flow initiation in this region.

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

Modelling the population dynamics of the Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herd to determine the effects of removals for translocation

Date created: 
2011-07-20
Abstract: 

The Purcells-South mountain caribou herd in British Columbia has declined to very low numbers and is now in imminent danger of extirpation. To aid recovery, wildlife managers plan to augment the Purcells-South herd with caribou from another area. A potential donor herd is the Itcha-Ilgachuz caribou herd in west central BC. This herd is important to First Nations, resident hunters, and guide outfitters, all of whom hunt caribou from this herd. This project modelled the population dynamics of the Itcha-Ilgachuz herd in order to determine what effect the removal of 40 caribou over two years would have on the herd. I used three model variations to reflect different hypothesis about the current dynamics of the Itcha-Ilgachuz herd. I concluded that removals would have very little effect on the abundance and age and sex ratios of the Itcha-Ilgachuz herd and therefore, hunting opportunities should not be affected by removals for translocation.

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