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

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Understanding Resilience in a Vulnerable Industry: A Case of Retailing in a Mountain Resort Community

Date created: 
2016-11-04
Abstract: 

The retail landscape is continually subject to changing market trends and conditions. Increasingly researchers use resilience concepts to understand how retail systems adapt and respond to change, which can help communities and retailers better anticipate and prepare for the inevitable altering conditions. This project analyzes local stakeholder perceptions to understand aspects of resilience and vulnerability in the context of Whistler BC’s destination retail system. Through qualitative interviews and an online survey of local retailers, this research identified factors perceived as influential to local retail sector performance. The study highlights Whistler’s retail system elements that link to its resilience and vulnerability, including components of its retail sector composition; customer qualities; local social, physical, and economic conditions; and its governance processes. This investigation offers an original Destination Retail Resilience Framework that integrates resilience and vulnerability concepts drawn from relevant literature, for application within a resort retail system.

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

Evaluating Cumulative Effects Assessment within Environmental Impact Assessment: A Case Study on the LNG Canada Export Terminal

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-09-15
Abstract: 

Cumulative effects are the accumulated spatial and temporal impacts to environmental and socioeconomic values from multiple projects and other activities. Cumulative effects assessment (CEA) assesses these accumulated impacts. This project used best practices for evaluating CEA under environmental assessment (EA) through a case study analysis of LNG Canada’s proposal to build a liquefied natural gas plant and port in Kitimat, British Columbia. Strengths and weaknesses of the current CEA process are identified. Overall, the evaluation found that only two of seventeen best practices were met. Recommendations are made to mitigate the deficiencies, including undertaking CEA as part of a comprehensive regional planning process instead of as part of EA.

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

In-season forecasting of Fraser Chinook Salmon using genetic stock identification of test fishery data

Date created: 
2016-08-23
Abstract: 

In-season methods that produce accurate and timely forecasts of returning salmon abundances allow fisheries managers to alter fishing plans in order to meet conservation and harvest objectives. In-season methods are challenged by variability in catch statistics due to factors external to abundance, specifically, fluctuations in the migration timing of target and co-migrating stocks. I apply genetic stock identification (GSI) data to develop catch indices for the five Fraser Chinook management units, and use these indices to forecast returns for each management unit according to four in-season model forms. I evaluate models using three performance measures to determine forecasting errors. Results show that forecasts for Spring 52 and Summer 52 Chinook can be produced with reasonable accuracy early in the fishing season. Forecasts of Spring 42, Summer 41, and Fall Chinook are less accurate. Results indicate that this technique shows promise for providing accurate and timely forecasts for the five Fraser Chinook management units, particularly as additional years of data are GSI-analyzed.

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

Using genetic species identification and environmental data to distinguish historical catches of cryptic Blackspotted Rockfish (Sebastes melanostictus) and Rougheye Rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus) in British Columbia

Date created: 
2015-12-15
Abstract: 

Visually classifying species is the most common method used in fisheries to estimate catch compositions for commercial and survey data, but catch records can be confounded when two or more morphologically similar species are classified as a single species (i.e., cryptic species)—as is the case for Blackspotted Rockfish and Rougheye Rockfish. To partition catches between the two species, I used genetic species identification data in regression models relating the proportion of Blackspotted Rockfish relative to the overall Rougheye/Blackspotted Rockfish catch to measures of set depth, location, and bottom ruggedness. The best model included a negative relationship with longitude and positive relationship with bottom ruggedness. I also used large-scale spatial predictors to estimate historical landings of each species, finding that the inclusion of trap longline commercial data after 2006 caused an increase in the relative proportion of Blackspotted Rockfish caught (out of the total Rougheye/Blackspotted Rockfish landings). Finally, I examined observer accuracy in distinguishing Blackspotted and Rougheye Rockfish and found that while 86% of fish were identified correctly, Blackspotted Rockfish were more likely to be misidentified, leading to a 55% overestimate of the actual Rougheye Rockfish catch and a 14% underestimate of the Blackspotted Rockfish catch. My results indicate that set-specific variables are most useful in estimating proportions of Blackspotted Rockfish and can be used to estimate how spatial shifts in fishing efforts will impact fishing mortality of Blackspotted Rockfish and Rougheye Rockfish.

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

Designing Politically Acceptable and Effective Policies to Mitigate Climate Change

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-05-25
Abstract: 

Several criteria are usually considered when evaluating climate policy options. If the policy is ineffective, it will not achieve the emission reduction goal. If the policy is effective and economically efficient, it could achieve the goal at a relatively low cost. But if the policy is likely to trigger strong opposition from an influential segment of the public, its inability to achieve political acceptability may prevent its implementation, even by politicians who are keen to reduce emissions. The goal of this thesis is to identify the key attributes of acceptable climate policies to help policy-makers improve their chances of implementing and sustaining policies that actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.The thesis consists of four distinct research papers. The first paper focuses primarily on the assessment of policy effectiveness and efficiency using British Columbia’s carbon tax and clean electricity standard as a case study for comparing two policies that differ significantly. Specifically, I describe and analyze these policies using multi-attribute policy evaluation criteria that include annual emission reductions and economic costs of emission reductions due to each policy. The other three papers address the issue of political acceptability by exploring in different ways its one key component, citizen support. In particular, I assess citizen support for different types of climate policies and identify the key factors predicting policy support, using a representative sample of Canadian citizens (n=1,306). Several findings emerge from my research. First, while carbon taxes are considered the most economically efficient climate policy, they are the least popular type of policy among the general public. In contrast, regulatory policies, including clean electricity standards, low carbon fuel standards, and efficiency regulations, appear to receive relatively high citizen support while causing substantial emission reductions. Second, citizen knowledge of climate policy is not associated with higher policy support, suggesting that widespread knowledge and well-informed citizen support may not be required for implementation of effective climate policies. Third, only a few factors are consistent predictors of citizen support across policy types, including being concerned about climate change, having trust in scientists, and being female. Other significant factors are unique to different policy types.

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

Evaluating Cumulative Effects Assessment in Environmental Impact Assessment: A Case Study on the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project

Date created: 
2016-06-29
Abstract: 

As new projects are being developed in various sectors throughout British Columbia and Canada, there is an increased need to assess how these projects collectively impact the environment. While environmental impact assessment is the process used to analyze and assess the environmental impacts from a single project, cumulative effects assessment (CEA) analyzes and assesses the environmental impacts from multiple projects and activities over space and time. I evaluate the quality of CEA through a case study analysis on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, using a defined set of best practice criteria for CEA. The evaluation specifically focuses on the assessment of the eight biophysical valued components included in the environmental assessment application for the project. Based on the results of the evaluation, I identify strengths and weaknesses in the CEA and provide recommendations for improvement.

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

The use of discrete choice experiments and a coupled socio-hydrological model to inform water policymaking in the Okanagan region of British Columbia

Date created: 
2016-08-24
Abstract: 

The Okanagan region in southeast British Columbia is a unique place offering opportunities for agriculture, tourism and other commercial enterprises, along with attractive residential amenities such as stunning panoramas and lakeside communities. The Okanagan also features high per capita water use and is confronting rapid population growth, altered landscapes, and climate change induced alterations to the water supply cycle. Decision makers managing freshwater systems in the Okanagan need to balance the competing tasks of meeting growing demands for water and protecting hydrological processes supporting the broader ecosystem. To do so, they need representative information about the complex interactions between physical and social processes in the Okanagan Basin watershed. In this thesis, I examine how discrete choice experiments and a coupled socio-hydrological model can be used to advance understanding of the preferences and behaviour of water users in the Okanagan, and to inform water policymaking. First, I use a discrete choice experiment to investigate and model the preferences of residents for landscaping options affecting outdoor water use. I find that residential preferences for lawns in the Okanagan differ from the current characteristics of many lawns in the region, offering the potential for policies to promote changes to reduce water use. I then use similar methods to examine and model the preferences of farmers concerning drought response policies in an adjacent agricultural setting. I find that these farmers have preferences for drought response plans that contain opportunities to trade water during droughts and that a moderate reduction of water supply during droughts may also be acceptable to them. Finally, I develop and demonstrate the application of a coupled socio-hydrological model that links the behavioural model developed from my resident study with a hydrological model of the Okanagan Basin. I find that discrete choice models can be used to prepare a valuable proxy for human behaviour to inform water related decisions and that the coupled socio-hydrological model presents a more sophisticated representation of human-water system interactions than conventional hydrological models, improving the information available to support decision makers.

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

Development of a Visitor Satisfaction Survey as a Strategic Tool for Aboriginal Tourism Operators

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-06-21
Abstract: 

The goal of this study was to generate an optimal survey instrument for I’Hos Cultural Tours (ICT), a small scale guided marine tourism company operating out of Tla’amin Nation (formerly Sliammon First Nation). The five most commonly used visitor satisfaction models were delineated through an extensive literature review. The suitability of each model was then evaluated using an assessment framework with criteria drawn from a review of Tla’amin tourism planning documents. It was determined that a modified Importance-Performance Analysis was the most appropriate model for ICT’s visitor satisfaction survey. As a result of the research, an online survey was developed and pilot tested which confirmed content validity and internal reliability. The resulting custom-made survey instrument can be administered via ICT’s social media or email. It was designed to be user friendly, adaptable and time conscious. It facilitates data collection on visitor demographics for possible future market segmentation and performance benchmarking applications, and on levels of visitor satisfaction related to specific facets of the tourism operation. With this data ICT’s management will be able to direct attention and resources as needed.This resulting survey will be of immediate benefit to ICT and Tla’amin Nation, while the design methodology has broader implications for tourism operators seeking to develop surveys rooted in community or institutional values. Study limitations related to qualitative research, survey design, and online distribution are discussed and recommendations for future research applications are presented in conclusion.

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

Fostering sustainable recreational fisheries through informed management decisions: A revamped approach for collecting data from white sturgeon anglers

Date created: 
2016-07-12
Abstract: 

Off-site recreational fishery surveys, when compared to on-site surveys, allows fisheries managers to contact a larger sample over a wider spatial scale at a lower cost. However, off-site surveys are prone to nonresponse bias. Nonresponse bias is known to have adverse effects on sample estimates and can erode the leverage of benefits provided by off-site surveys. I explored nonresponse bias in an off-site survey administered to estimate annual total effort and catch in British Columbia’s lower and middle Fraser River white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) recreational fishery. I explored biases associated with survey mode and response rate. I further used¬¬ simulation modeling to determine how sample size affects both survey costs and estimates’ accuracy. I found that nonresponse bias arose from anglers’ participation rate and to a lesser extent from anglers’ catch. Anglers who did not fish were less likely to respond. Simulation modelling showed that sample size in the first phase of contact could be reduced by 40%, while holding the follow-up contact at current sample size, and still produce accurate results. Generally, results show that nonresponse bias affected off-site survey estimates even in a relatively small group of specialized anglers.

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

The effect of heads-up-display (HUD) goggles on skiing and snowboarding speeds

Date created: 
2016-06-27
Abstract: 

This study empirically explores whether the use of heads-up-display (HUD) goggles increases the risk in ski areas by increasing skiing and snowboarding speeds. Twenty- seven skiers and snowboarders participated in a repeated measures experiment that included a control session without the HUD goggle and three sessions with the HUD goggle under a variety of conditions. The skiing behaviour of each participant was monitored using a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker. The runs of the ski area were divided into 51 homogeneous run sections and speed quantiles (median to maximum in 5 percentage point intervals) were calculated for each individual pass through these run sections (n=4,451). A mixed-effects model was then applied to examine the effect of HUD goggles on skiing speeds for each quantile in combination with various personal (e.g., skiing ability) and external factors (e.g., terrain). Among the variables tested, ability level had the strongest positive effect on skiing speeds, while terrain characteristics including steep gradients, ungroomed runs, and treed areas, were all associated with slower skiing speeds. No overall long-term effect of HUD goggle use on skiing speeds was found, but advanced/expert skiers did appear to benchmark ‘personal best’ speeds during first HUD use – particularly on long straight run sections – before returning to slower speeds during subsequent HUD use. Whereas no significant HUD effect was observed among beginners/intermediates, skiing speeds were significantly faster among beginners/intermediates listening to music during the sessions. The potential for distraction as a result of HUD use still requires investigation.

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