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

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Application of Thermodynamic Activity to Assess the Cumulative Environmental Risks of Phthalate Ester Mixtures

Date created: 
2015-06-29
Abstract: 

Phthalate esters (PEs) are a family of chemicals widely used in many consumer products to provide plasticity. This research uses an activity-based approach to assess the environmental risk of exposure to individual PEs and exposure to multiple PEs. The approach expresses exposure and toxicity data in terms of one thermodynamic quantity (i.e., activity), making it possible to include exposure and toxicological endpoint concentrations from multiple media in a single risk analysis; thereby improving the lines of evidence. The activities of 8 PEs in 5 abiotic (N=3886) and 3 biotic (N=407) media from sources worldwide, were compared to the 5th percentile of PE aquatic toxicity values and to the lower threshold of Critical Body Residue (CBR) associated with non-polar narcosis. Individually, PEs pose negligible risk, but cumulatively there is 0.1% probability that PE exposure concentrations will elicit non-polar narcosis. Guidelines to protect organisms from PE-induced non-polar narcosis are proposed

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

Evaluating the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable Planning Process and the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation Framework

Date created: 
2016-03-03
Abstract: 

This study uses an evaluative framework synthesized from the literature on collaborative planning, integrated water resource management, and adaptive governance to evaluate the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable’s planning process and its application of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation framework. The Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable was the first organization in Canada to apply the Open Standards framework in developing a multi-jurisdictional collaborative watershed plan, and among the first in the world to apply the Open Standards in a way that integrated ecological and human well-being goals. The evaluative framework consists of criteria in four broad categories: (1) Collaborative Planning; (2) Holistic Approach; (3) Authority and Control; and (4) Learning and Adjusting with Experience. The Roundtable performed well on most criteria. I make seven recommendations to improve the planning process and discuss four key considerations to guide similar community-based initiatives seeking to apply the Open Standards framework for watershed planning.

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

Grounded in values, informed by local knowledge and science: The selection of valued components for a First Nation’s regional cumulative effects management system

Date created: 
2016-04-22
Abstract: 

Regional cumulative effects management systems monitor and seek to maintain or restore the condition of valued biophysical, social, economic and cultural components over time. Valued components – the elements that people individually and collectively consider to be important – are at the core of any cumulative effects management system. I propose a new methodology for identifying and selecting valued components for a First Nation’s regional cumulative effects management system. The methodology explicitly incorporates Aboriginal perspectives, values and knowledge. Key features include implementation planning, clear decision-making criteria, and effective engagement with Aboriginal people. I worked in collaboration with the Metlakatla First Nation and its consultants to apply the methodology to identify high-priority valued biophysical components for a cumulative effects management system in Metlakatla’s traditional territory on the north coast of British Columbia. Based on this pilot study, I assess the strengths of the methodology and suggest areas for improvement.

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

A Generalized Additive Mixed Effects Modeling (GAMM) Approach to Short-term River Temperature Forecasting for the Fraser River, British Columbia: Model Evaluation and Implications for Salmon Fishery Management

Date created: 
2016-01-07
Abstract: 

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme lethal and sub-lethal temperature events in Canada's salmon-producing rivers. As a result, some salmon populations are increasingly vulnerable to in-river mortality during spawning migrations, making escapement and harvest objectives difficult to achieve. Harvest adjustments associated with river temperature forecasting are currently made on a limited basis to address temperature-related en route mortality of sockeye salmon in the Lower Fraser River in British Columbia; however, these forecast models are complex, data intensive, location specific, and costly to develop and operate. Here, I develop a Generalized Additive Mixed Modelling (GAMM) approach to provide broader spatial coverage, more flexible, and cost effective implementation of river temperature forecasting for use in in-season harvest management.

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

Impact Investing for Sustainable Community Development

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-02-29
Abstract: 

There is a new emerging market that redirects capital to organizations that have positive social and/or environmental objectives; it has been termed “impact investing”. This marketplace provides an avenue to address social and environmental issues while still making a financial return. This research contributes to a greater understanding of this marketplace and how impact investing contributes to sustainable community development. This research also takes an organizational lens to highlight the organizational structures and processes that are needed to implement an impact investing program. The methods used for this research include a case study and key informant interviews. The findings reveal that there is a connection between impact investing and sustainable community development as these investments provide an opportunity to address community level issues, increase the flow of dollars within a community, and help build community capital.

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)

5,000-year Fire History in the Strait of Georgia Lowlands, British Columbia: Implications for Restoration and Management

Date created: 
2016-02-17
Abstract: 

Improved knowledge of long-term fire regimes and climate-fire-human relationships can play an important role in informing effective management of south coastal forests in British Columbia, Canada. In this study, we used high-resolution charcoal analysis (~17-year intervals) along with strong chronological control (210Pb and AMS-14C age constraints) to provide new mid to late Holocene fire history information for Moist Maritime Coastal Douglas Fir (CDFmm) forests around Somenos Lake on southeastern Vancouver Island and Dry Maritime Coastal Western Hemlock (CWHdm) forests around Chadsey Lake in the central Fraser Valley. Our results indicate that fire frequency at both sites varied throughout the mid to late Holocene, suggesting that CDFmm and CWHdm fire regimes in the Strait of Georgia Lowlands have been non-stationary over the last ~5000 years. In general, fire frequency between the two sites was largely synchronous during the mid to late Holocene, indicating that broad-scale climatic changes were primarily driving fire occurrence in the Strait of Georgia Lowlands during the past ~5000 years. However, a period of asynchrony occurred between 3500 and 2000 cal yr BP when fire frequency was low at Somenos Lake (i.e., the CDFmm site) and high at Chadsey Lake (i.e., the CWHdm site). Neoglacial conditions during this time would have limited fire ignition, thus resulting in low fire activity at Somenos Lake. However, because climate conditions were not conducive to fire (i.e., cool and moist), we suggest that a combination of local scale factors were primarily responsible for high fire activity at Chadsey Lake between 3500 and 2000 cal yr BP. Overall, our results exemplify the spatial-temporal dynamics of fire activity in the in the Strait of Georgia Lowlands during the past ~5000 years and highlight the importance for forest managers to look at the variability of fire occurrence over time and across different sites to disclose the temporal and spatial variability of fire activity and better understand the mechanisms that drive changes.

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

Does a region need its own zero emission vehicle mandate, or can it free-ride off another? Modelling British Columbia and California

Date created: 
2016-01-27
Abstract: 

Policymakers are investigating how to transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) to achieve long-term GHG targets. ZEV adoption is limited by regional and global barriers, where reductions in global barriers spill over between regions. I use an energy-economy model to investigate whether a smaller North American region (British Columbia) needs its own strong ZEV policy or can instead free-ride off spillovers from policy in other jurisdictions (California and other ZEV States) to achieve their GHG target. I find that 50% of new vehicles sold in 2040 and over 90% in 2050 need to be ZEVs, and that these adoption levels likely cannot be achieved through free-riding. Rather, regions likely need their own strong ZEV policy alongside other vehicle and fuel policies, even under optimistic assumptions about technological progress. Moreover, regions with strong ZEV policy may lower GHG abatement costs 11-48% by convincing other jurisdictions to follow with similar policy.

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

Consumer lifestyle and response to low-carbon technologies: Semi-structured interviews with plug-in electric vehicle owners in British Columbia, Canada

Date created: 
2016-03-23
Abstract: 

Lifestyles can play an important role in shaping consumer behaviour in regard to novel low-carbon technologies. In this study, I utilize a conceptual framework from lifestyle theory, which defines lifestyle as engagement in several related practices that inform and convey self-identity. I apply this theory to the case of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies by conducting 17 interviews with PEV-owning households in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). I use content analysis to characterize the 17 participants based on engagement in technology-oriented or pro-environmental lifestyles, and group them into four segments: Tech Enthusiasts, Low-tech Greens, High-tech Greens, and Other. The six participants in the Other segment did not engage in either lifestyle and were thus driven primarily by other motives. Some patterns of behaviour with the technologies are fairly consistent across the sample and across lifestyle segments, as most participants: express greater interest in battery electric vehicles (8 of 17) than plug-in hybrids (1 of 17), report driving more after purchasing a PEV (12 of 17), and express high levels of interest in utility controlled charging programs (13 of 17). A range of motivations appeared to influence participants’ behaviours, including “practicality”, “embracing technology”, “environmental protection”, and “supporting innovative companies”. Such motivations tended to correspond with participants’ lifestyle engagement: participants in pro-environmental segments (Low-tech Greens and High-tech Greens) emphasized environmental attributes, participants in pro-technology segments (Tech Enthusiasts and High-tech Greens) emphasized technology and innovation, while “Other” participants emphasized more tangible functional attributes, such as affordability and practicality. Together, these findings suggest that policymakers and researchers should consider the variety of motivations that may influence consumer interest in, purchase, and use of low-carbon technologies, which may relate to a variety of benefits such as cost, environment and technology.

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

Evaluating Co-management Arrangements for Conservancies in the Territory of the Metlakatla First Nation

Date created: 
2016-02-25
Abstract: 

This study examines the co-management arrangements between the Metlakatla First Nation and the Province of British Columbia, with a specific focus on the implementation of co-management within the new “conservancy” designation. First introduced as a protected area in British Columbia in 2006, the conservancy designation is unique in that the legislation explicitly recognizes the importance of these protected areas for social, ceremonial and cultural uses, while also allowing First Nations and others to pursue opportunities for low-impact, sustainable economic development. Using the conservancies within the Metlakatla First Nation territory as a case study, I evaluate their co-management arrangements against 10 principles of “strong” co-management. I then analyze my results for implications as implementation of conservancy co-management continues on-the-ground, comparing formal rules with informal practices. Last, I identify potential challenges and make recommendations to overcome these challenges so that the Metlakatla First Nation can achieve its vision for conservancies.

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

Ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change in urban areas: An evaluation of rainwater management practices in Metro Vancouver

Date created: 
2016-01-07
Abstract: 

Adapting to climate change will require a combination of approaches, from man-made infrastructure to holistic approaches. British Columbia’s Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs) promote a holistic approach to rainwater management, which views rain as a resource and aims to mimic the natural hydrological cycle by allowing rainwater to return directly to the ecosystem. Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is a novel approach to planning and adaptation that prioritizes ecosystem services, enhancing biodiversity, as well as human health and well-being. This research uses a framework of EbA principles to evaluate select ISMPs from the City of Surrey and City of Coquitlam. While the intended purpose of ISMPs is not directly to address climate change, the results of the research show that municipalities in Metro Vancouver are already successfully implementing the principles of EbA through ISMPs in the urban context.

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