Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Factors Influencing the Prioritization of Sites for Conservation on Private Land in Southern Ontario
Conservation organizations use strategic prioritization methods to order complex environments, evaluate landscapes, and distribute efficiently resources for conservation. This study explores how strategic prioritization decisions are made, drawing on a case study of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). This thesis identifies the factors affecting prioritization and their influence on the public perception of the NCC. The case study revealed that the NCC utilizes comprehensive science-based methods when prioritizing for conservation but its methods are also influenced by the 'opportunity function' (funding, threats, public/political support). How these factors are communicated depends on the audience (e.g. NCC Conservation Blueprints stress the scientific value of the environment; the NCC uses its media sources to emphasize the human-environment connection). These differences indicate the multi-dimensional nature of planning for conservation, its links to values emerging from science, politics, and society, and the need for collaborative conservation efforts and earning and maintaining public trust. Author Keywords: biodiversity conservation priorities, collaboration, Nature Conservancy of Canada, opportunity function, private conservation organizations, science-based conservation
Understanding Dimensions of Environmental Sustainability in a Northern Indigenous Context
Although the concept of environmental sustainability has become increasingly popular, the literature offers little practical guidance to direct priorities or actions to support environmental sustainability in northern Indigenous communities. A case study in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, and a systematic literature review was undertaken to understand: 1) what aspects of the local environment are of value to a northern Indigenous community; and 2) what does existing literature identify as key elements of a community-based approach to monitor valued aspects of the environment in a northern Indigenous context. Hopedale residents spoke to the importance of going off on the land and identified a number of categories of places in their local environment of importance to them, including: 1) valued areas for human-use, 2) areas to protect, 3) areas of environmental concern, and 4) areas to monitor. The systematic literature review highlighted trends on community-based monitoring (CBM) publications, and identified key 13 elements of CBM approaches that are pertinent to northern Indigenous communities. Insights from this study will inform environmental planning and management in the case community of Hopedale, as well as offer guidance to enhance current and future CBM activities in the North and elsewhere. Author Keywords: community-based monitoring, environmental sustainability, Inuit, Labrador, participatory mapping, systematic literature review
Prioritizing Restoration Potential within Protected Areas in Haliburton County, Ontario
Ecological restoration helps managers of protected areas respond to challenges presented by factors that threaten ecological integrity and respond to residual effects of previous land use. Many protected areas require restoration on sections of the property, due to previous land use. The objective of this thesis is to present criteria that assist ecological restoration professionals in assessing the potential of restoration projects within a protected area, based on the restoration wheels from the International Principles and Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration. The criteria were discovered from a review of the literature and reinforced from interviews with experienced restoration practitioners and a focus group session with key members of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT). Based on the combination of biophysical and socioeconomic values in the restoration wheels, they are presented in the form of a five-star assessment system to create long-term restoration goals for properties of the HHLT and protected areas in general. These long-term restoration goals can be utilized in conjunction with the wheels and five-star assessment tools to prioritize restoration projects Author Keywords: Determining Project Potential, Ecological Restoration, Evaluating Success, Haliburton, Land trusts, Restoration Wheels
An Exploration of Partnership Models for Urban Conservation Land Management in Ontario
Partnerships for management of public parks have a long history, but little attention has been given to the current models of partnerships during a period of municipal austerity in Ontario. Using a qualitative assessment of transcripts from representatives of 10 municipal partner groups, this research considers what some of the current models are, the impact that they may have, and how municipalities may foster these partnership arrangements. The participating organizations demonstrated that their governance models evolved to suit their mandate, activities, and scope of interaction with their municipality. Additionally, this research corroborates past findings that efficacy of an organization is tied to their ability to partner with other agencies and act as a capacity amplifier. These results demonstrate how municipal conservation partnerships can be effectively applied to create enhanced financial outcomes and improved community engagement, while delivering community based environmental programming. Author Keywords: Conservation, Environmental Stewardship, Municipal Management, Partnership, Social Ecology, Urban Parks

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