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

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Food Sovereignty and Community Development: Shellfish Aquaculture in the Nanwakolas First Nations

Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

Aquaculture is promoted by governments and industry as a solution to the impending crisis of a growing and hungry world population, although technological solutions to food shortages have historically had social consequences. In partnership with the Nanwakolas Council, we researched the social and economic impacts of land-based aquaculture development with a focus on a potential shellfish hatchery. The two aims of the project were 1) to develop a Sustainability Assessment tool that the community could use to assess such projects and 2) to investigate the likely impacts of a potential shellfish hatchery in relation to food systems. First, we found that the Nanwakolas’ existing Community Wellbeing Wheel could be developed into a Sustainability Assessment framework by testing it with a community dialogue about a potential shellfish hatchery. We identified gaps in the first iteration of the framework as recommended improvements in several sustainability dimensions, along with the proposed new sustainability dimension of Community Capacity. Next, we explored a shellfish hatchery from the perspective of food sovereignty using the Nyéléni conference principles as an analytical framework to analyze interview and dialogue responses. We isolated some of the strengths and weaknesses of a shellfish hatchery for Nanwakolas food sovereignty, particularly highlighting ways in which this non-traditional method of food production might build sovereignty and resource governance capacity. Additionally, our results indicate that a discussion between consumption vs. commodification of community food resources over-simplifies the possible paths to food sovereignty, as defining production can itself help build food sovereignty. Lastly, we found Community Capacity to be an underlying limit to food sovereignty, but also something that the Community Wellbeing Wheel could specifically address through future community dialogue.

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

Assessing Canada-British Columbia climate policy design and interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-04
Abstract: 

This study tests alternative climate policy scenarios to provide useful information to decision-makers. The first component of this project evaluates how Canada, when viewed from a national perspective, can best achieve a greenhouse gas target. This was done by using the hybrid energy-economy model CIMS to simulate and compare policy approaches. For the second component, I modeled British Columbia to explore policy designs for integrating provincial climate policy with the broader national targets and efforts. Special emphasis was placed on designing policies that could gradually align initiatives by all regions and all levels of government in Canada with a similar, nation-wide marginal cost of emissions reduction. To account for the uncertainty of future natural gas production, I incorporate a sensitivity analysis by modeling each scenario in British Columbia twice, either under the assumption that liquefied natural gas is developed or absent in the province.

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

Applying a systems approach to assess carbon emission reductions from climate change mitigation in Mexico’s forest sector

Date created: 
2017-10-04
Abstract: 

Mexico was the first Non-Annex I country to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and its Climate Change Mid-Century Strategy in accordance with the Paris Agreement of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since 2012, the Mexican government through its National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), with support from the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the Forest Services of Canada and USA, the USA SilvaCarbon Program and research institutes in Mexico, has made important progress towards the use of carbon dynamics models to explore climate change mitigation options in the forest sector. Following a systems approach, here we assess the biophysical mitigation potential of forest ecosystems, harvested wood products and substitution benefits, for policy alternatives identified by the Mexican Government (e.g. net zero deforestation rate, sustainable forest management). We provide key messages and results derived from the use of available analytical frameworks (Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector and a harvested wood products model), parameterized with local input data in two contrasting states within Mexico. Using information from the National Forest Monitoring System (e.g. forest inventories, remote sensing, disturbance data), we demonstrate that activities aimed at reaching a net-zero deforestation rate can yield significant CO2e mitigation benefits by 2030 and 2050 relative to a baseline scenario (“business as usual”), but, if combined with increasing forest harvest to produce long-lived products and substitute more energy-intensive materials, emissions reductions, could also provide other co-benefits (e.g. jobs, reduction in illegal logging). The relative impact of mitigation activities is locally dependent, suggesting that mitigation strategies should be designed and implemented at sub-national scales. Thus, the ultimate goal of this tri-national effort is to develop data and tools for carbon assessment in strategic landscapes in North America, emphasizing the need to include multiple sectors and types of collaborators (scientific and policy-maker communities) to design more comprehensive portfolios for climate change mitigation.

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

Linking avalanche hazard in Western Canada to climate oscillations

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-08
Abstract: 

While the effect of large-scale climate patterns (e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation) on winter temperature and precipitation in Western Canada is relatively well understood, little is known regarding the link between climate and avalanche hazard. Previous studies have been hindered by the inconsistent or incomplete avalanche, weather, and snowfall observations. Using avalanche hazard assessments from Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada from the 2009/10 to 2016/17 winter seasons I examined the nature and variability of avalanche hazard and the relationship to large-scale climate patterns. I identify typical avalanche hazard situations and calculate their seasonal prevalence to develop a quantitative measure of the nature of local avalanche hazard conditions. I then use the prevalence values of typical hazard conditions to examine the relationship between climate oscillations and avalanche hazard. This study suggests a relationship between the climate patterns and avalanche hazard situations with a method that is more informative for avalanche risk management.

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

Causes and consequences of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) deep spawning behavior

Date created: 
2017-08-31
Abstract: 

Shifts in the reproductive strategies of marine species can result from ecological disturbance and often lead to either harmful or adaptive population−level effects. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) can exhibit remarkable plasticity in spawn density and spatial distribution, shifting in response to both climatic and anthropogenic pressure. To test alternative factors leading to recently observed and previously uninvestigated deep spawning events (−30 m, 8 x the preceding 25-year mean), we surveyed spawn sites varying in motorized boat traffic, predator density, and sea surface temperature, and conducted a field experiment to test depth effects (at −3, −15, and −30 meters) on the survival rates of herring eggs exposed and protected from predation. We found herring spawn to −44 m, and strong evidence for a positive relationship between depth of suitable habitat and maximum spawning depth (with a possible link to surface temperatures), which was magnified when spawner density was high. This result is consistent with historical records of fisheries independent survey data collected from 1989 to 2015, showing an increase in maximum spawning depth with greater biomass of spawners. Finally, experimental evidence indicated that egg survival decreased, on average, by 20 % at −30 m relative to −3 m depths. If declining trends in spawning distribution continue as sea temperatures rise, the prevalence of deep spawning events may expand as herring become further concentrated into deep fjords and smaller geographic areas, adding further risk to already declining stocks.

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

Art-based placemaking at Renfrew Ravine: Implications for sustainable places

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-12
Abstract: 

This research explores the role of placemaking at Still Creek, Vancouver, Canada. Placemaking is an integrative approach to public space management that aims to foster both sense of place and sense of community through a citizen-driven process. At Still Creek, a non-profit organization is engaging their neighbourhood using an interdisciplinary approach of arts and stewardship in collaboration with several community partners. Findings suggest placemaking is occurring at Still Creek through three key activities (e.g. festival, art in place, and environmental stewardship and restoration). Still Creek has become a place of interest, care and advocacy among those involved suggesting sense of place is present along with several community building elements as well. Implications for sustainable places are also explored

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

Integrated Oceans Management Planning in Canada: An Evaluation of the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area Process

Date created: 
2017-08-28
Abstract: 

Over the past decade, there has been a surge of interest around the world in marine planning as an innovative approach to balancing sustainable development and conservation of the marine environment. In 2009, a marine planning process was initiated for a region called the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) in British Columbia, Canada. The final integrated oceans management plan for the PNCIMA was officially endorsed in February 2017. The collaborative planning process used to prepare the PNCIMA plan was evaluated using a multi-criteria evaluation method. The results show that the PNCIMA process had strengths and weaknesses: three of the twenty-six best practice criteria were met, thirteen were moderately met, and nine were unmet. Further, stakeholders reached consensus on some but not all elements of the PNCIMA plan. Recommendations are identified for design and management of future collaborative marine planning processes based on the PNCIMA evaluation.

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)

Developing a trophic bioaccumulation model for PFOA and PFOS in a marine food web

Date created: 
2016-07-19
Abstract: 

Food web (or trophic) bioaccumulation models are useful tools for estimating the bioaccumulative tendencies of persistent organic pollutants, and are regularly used for regulatory assessment of industrial chemicals. Current models are mostly designed for neutral, lipophilic compounds, yet numerous compounds of concern are ionizable and/or proteinophilic, exhibiting unique bioaccumulation behaviour. In this study, an existing model was modified to evaluate bioaccumulation of two ionizable perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in a marine food web: perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The model was tested against measured concentrations of PFOA and PFOS from a bottlenose dolphin food web in Charleston Harbor, SC. Both compounds were expected to bioaccumulate in this food web. Predicted concentrations of PFOS were in better agreement with empirical measurements compared to PFOA. This study supports the utilization of holistic measures of bioaccumulation (i.e., the trophic magnification factor, or TMF), particularly in food webs containing water- and air-respiring organisms.

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

The unmaking of the Skeena River salmon fisheries as a social-ecological system

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-23
Abstract: 

Commercial salmon fisheries on the Skeena River in northern British Columbia have been a way of life, a vital part of the economy, and a valued support to community health and wellbeing in the region for over a century. In the last two decades a drastic curtailment of fishing opportunity has reduced commercial landings and fishing effort to less than 20% of where they stood in the mid-1990s and earlier. Ostensibly undertaken in the interests of conservation, the reduction in commercial access to salmon stocks is a much more complex story. This dissertation poses the question: what, if anything, would make commercial salmon fisheries on the Skeena “sustainable”? Starting from the premise that sustainability in fisheries is about more than the resource that is being harvested, I present a fishery-focused social-ecological system model that includes markets, communities, ecosystems and governance institutions. I situate the Skeena salmon fisheries in this model as a first step. I then turn to the management system to see how it addresses the issue of sustainability. Using a framework that was developed through the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN), I evaluate management on the Skeena over the past 30-40 years in three dimensions: ecological, socio-economic, and governance. Having shown that sustainability on the Skeena continues to be narrowly defined in terms of the productivity of salmon populations, I introduce a second model to represent how natural resources are meant to be exploited under conditions characteristic of “modernity”. I call this a “utilitarian control system” model: it shows how fisheries managers on the Skeena have been compelled to severely restrict the type and quantity of value extracted from the fishery in order to maintain an illusion of control over the resource production system. I conclude by presenting an alternative approach to sustainability that I term natural governance. Consisting of three primary systems – natural, governance and social – with three corresponding functions – diversity, legitimacy, and wellbeing – I apply the framework to the Skeena fisheries as a way of generating recommendations for how to begin the transition to a healthier relationship between human and natural systems.

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

Evaluating management strategies for grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

In British Columbia, The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations manages grizzly bear hunting as the most rigid and conservatively managed hunt in the province. However, there has been concern raised in the media and from some members of the academic community over the sustainability of grizzly bear hunting. It is unclear whether the current management strategy effectively incorporates uncertainties in grizzly bear biology and management. My research intends to address these concerns by utilizing a computer model to test the current provincial grizzly bear harvest management procedure, as well as other management options. Here, I developed a model to simulate grizzly bear population dynamics, provincial management, and hunting. Multiple sources of uncertainty were also included in the analysis. The results of this study highlight the potential benefits, challenges, and tradeoffs of three management options for grizzly bears given uncertainty in biological and management parameters.

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.