A cumulative effects approach to wetland mitigation
Nielsen, Jesse Lee
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Wetlands are among the most ecologically productive lands in the world, but every year they continue to be lost due to increasing pressures from agriculture, industrial development, urbanization and the lack of effective mitigation to deal with such pressures. Despite environmental assessment processes, policies, and regulations to ensure the mitigation of affected wetlands, wetlands continue to experience a loss in areal extent, but more importantly, a functional net-loss. This is attributed, in large part, to the lack of incorporating cumulative effects principles into project-based wetland impact assessment and mitigation. The majority of activities that affect wetlands are either assessed at the screening level, where cumulative effects are rarely considered, or are deemed insignificant and do not trigger any formal environmental assessment process. As a result, the mitigation of cumulative effects on wetlands is often insufficient or completely lacking in development planning and decision-making. Part of the challenge is that there currently does not exist methodological guidance as to how to identify wetland cumulative effects and corresponding mitigation needs early in the project design process. This research presents a methodological framework and guidance for the integration of cumulative effects in decision-making for project-based, wetland impact mitigation. The framework provides a means for the early indication, assessment, and mitigation of the potential cumulative effects of project developments on the wetland environment, with the objective of ensuring a no-net-loss of wetland functions.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorHill, Michael; Noble, Bram
CommitteeWalker, Ryan; Guo, Xulin
Copyright DateMarch 2010