Pamela A. Wright, Ph.D.


Associate  Professor                                            
New Lab Building 8-248                              
University of Northern British Columbia                           
3333 University Way
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada V2N 4Z9
Email: pwright@unbc.ca
Phone: (250) 960-6353


 Key Research Areas and Activities 
  • Protected Areas Planning & Management
    • Long term ecological monitoring/climate change monitoring
    • Connecting research to protected area planning and management -- the BC Protected Areas Research Forum
    • The application of ecological integrity to protected areas design and management
    • Visitor impact monitoring and management
    • Conservation area design
    • Conservation values at risk
    • Recreation values at risk
  • Indigenous Tourism
  • Monitoring for Sustainability
    • Monitoring for ecological integrity and sustainability
    • Monitoring sustainable tourism initiatives
    • Complex systems thinking for monitoring and management

Sample Research Projects 
  • Long Term Ecological Monitoring for BC Parks (with Tory Stevens - BC Parks 2011-Continuing)
Global climate changes are impacting the entire landscape and although intended as ecological reservoirs and refugia, parks and protected areas are not immune to these changes. Provincially, BC Parks’ staff identify stressors and threats in conservation risk assessments and have identified myriad challenges amplified by climate change. The role of monitoring in protected areas management in general, and with respect to climate change in particular, is identified as central to most assessment and adaptation strategies. This project (related article forthcoming in BC JEM) has focused on developing and implementing  a province-wide long-term ecological change monitoring (LTEM) program that can be conducted using a hybrid scientific/citizen-science model. The intent is to help understand a) the state of ecological integrity of BC Parks on a provincial scale and b) long-term ecological change of which climate change is one of the leading causes. Many protocols were pre-tested in the summer of 2011 with additional ones the focus of pre-testing in 2012 along with roll-out of the full monitoring program.
  • Field Staff Perspectives on Managing Climate Change Impacts in Parks and Protected Areas (2011-2012)
Within protected areas, the impacts of climate change have been the subject of discussion for over two decades.Reported impacts included changes to: species and habitat distributions; sea level rise; glaciation and snow packs; hydrologic processes; and disturbance patterns. As part of a project to develop a long-term ecological change monitoring program for BC Parks with a specific focus on climate change a series of focus group interviews and an electronic survey of parks’ field staff were conducted. Field staff throughout the province reported observing a wide range of ecological and social impacts from climate change currently with projected increases in the future. Support for monitoring these impacts was strong as was invasive species removal. Findings illustrate the need for clarified policy and planning direction; habitat and species vulnerability assessments; education and experimentation with various mitigation and adaptation techniques; and implementation of a comprehensive monitoring program.

  • Examining the Feasibility, Benefits and Impacts of Indigenous Ecotourism for Tl’azt’en Nation

    Here, in NorthernBC, we are rich in indigenous tourism experiences that showcase localTl'azten First Nation Interpretive Sign First Nation’s tradition and culture through celebrations, festivals, art, and every day life. A growing number of indigenous tourism opportunities provide visitors with a glimpse of indigenous culture through activities such as feasts, dances, artwork and interpretive tours. Indigenous tourism involves the promoting of cultural exchange; has the potential for cultural revitalization; and is typically thought of an economic diversification opportunity within a community. However, tourism has the potential to come at a cost. Without adequate planning and monitoring, indigenous tourism can result in cultural erosion, loss of authenticity, commodification and commercialization of culture, and a general breakdown of the social structure within the community.

     

    As part of the overall CURA research partnership between UNBC and Tl’azt’en First Nation (http://cura.unbc.ca), the ecotourism stream was designed to focus on issues relating to cultural and indigenous perspectives on tourism and recreation for the Tl’azt’en Nation. As UNBC ecotourism stream leader (and overall CURA Principal Investigator) I worked with Amelia Stark (Tl’azt’en ecotourism stream leader) and graduate students Diana Kutzner and Shane Hartman to conduct research questions addressing questions such as:

    • What indigenous ecotourism opportunities are available in Northern British Columbia?
    • What is the market for indigenous ecotourism opportunities?
    • What are the benefits and impacts of indigenous ecotourism for the Tl’azt’en Nation?
    • What indigenous ecotourism opportunities are feasible for the Tl’azt’en Nation?
    Diana completed her graduate work in 2009 and Shane is defending his research in fall of 2012.
  • Does Remoteness Sell in BC?

    Tourism and outdoor recreation are increasingly part of our Northern lifestyle and economies. Although the establishment of a strong protected areas system is a vital component of meeting growing demand, most recreation and tourism use and development (e.g., lodges, guided hunting/fishing opportunities, and cultural tourism venues) occurs outside of protected areas. With few exceptions, resource management activities continue to view recreation and tourism, along with other societal values, as constraints to operations rather than legitimate values to proactively plan for.

     

    During the summer and fall of 2006, I undertook a pilot analysis of the critical selling points of the resource-based tourism industry in selected areas of north-central BC to address questions such as:  

    what are the critical setting attributes of recreation and tourism of the resource-based tourism industry in northern British Columbia;

    what are the resulting challenges or conflicts with other resource management activities – what values are at risk; and

    what can be done to address these issues?

    Funding for this project comes from the BC Real Estate Partnering Fund with partnering contributions from the BC Ministry of Environment.

  • BC Protected Areas Research Forum

     

    Management of protected areas is inherently complex requiring access, understanding andMonitoring Burweed on Saltspring synthesis of social and biological information. In May of 2005, university and college researchers together with provincial and federal protected areas agencies created the BC Protected Areas Research Forum (BCPARF). BCPARF,  hosted by the University of Northern BC, is dedicated to strengthening linkages between research and protected areas planning and management.The first annual conference was held on Vancouver Island at RoyalRoadsUniversity, December 4-6, 2006 with the second held in December of 2008 at UNBC. The third BCPARF conference (conference organizer Tory Stevens) was held at UBC in December 2011. Click on the link to find out more about   - BCPARF.

  • Perceptions and Understanding of Forest Health Management in Mt.RobsonProvincialPark

    Mt. Robson Prescribed BurnCurrently, BC protected areas are facing many forest health issues affecting both ecological values and public safety. Historic practices of fire suppression have led to conditions of heavily stocked, even-aged monocultures that are prone to beetle (e.g., mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle) infestations and forest fires that are outside the range of natural variation. Ecosystem management strategies for both parks include the use of active management techniques including vegetative thinning, prescribed burns and selective tree removal. However, these active management treatments have been a source of contention between the surrounding communities and the Ministry of Environment. During summer of 2006, we conducted a visitor survey on the Berg Lake Trail in Mt.RobsonProvincialPark. In addition to park planning and management questions there was a specific focus on visitor perceptions of forest health management in the park. Building on this project, graduate student Kate Reade conducted a broader study of residents of the RobsonValley and their perceptions and understanding of forest health management in the area. Funding for these projects came from BC Ministry of Environment/Parks Branch and the BC Forest Investment Accounts Fund.

  • Monitoring Conservation and Recreation Values at Risk

     

    Parks and protected areas face a myriad of stressors from external (increasing roadedness, resource harvesting impacts, pollution) and internal sources (roads and trails, wildlife viewing impacts, increased use). In 2000, I developed a Conservation Risk Assessment (CRA) tool for BC Parks in the north to help identify conservation values at risk to aid in ecosystem-based management. This tool was then adopted and applied province-wide (2002). 

Current Courses Taught
In the 2012-2013 academic year I will be teaching:
  • Summer Semester
    • ORTM 333 Field Experience (Northern Rockies Expedition)
    • ORTM 498/298 Indigenous Tourism and Rural Development Field School
  • Fall Semester
    •  ORTM 410 Research Methods and Analysis
  • Spring Semester
    • Indigenous Tourism and Recreation (ORTM306)
    • Conservation Area Design and Management (ORTM 400)

    Education 
    • Ph.D. 1992. Interdisciplinary Studies – School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
    • M.Sc. 1988. School of Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
    • Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation. 1987. Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism [Summa cum laude]. Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
    • B.Sc. 1987. Bachelor of Natural Science. Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

    Previous Positions 
    • Research Scientist and Program Leader. Forest Monitoring/Sustainability Specialist. USDA Forest Service. Inventory and Monitoring Institute.
    • Research Scientist and Project Leader. Local Unit Criteria and Indicators Development (LUCID) Project & Sustainable Forest Monitoring Pilot Tests in Mexico. USDA Forest Service. Inventory and Monitoring Institute and International Forestry
    • Adjunct Faculty and Research Fellow, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University.
    • Principal. Confluence ~ Resource and Environmental Management. Protected areas and environmental management consultancy
    • Vice Chair. Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks. Minster of Canadian Heritage.
    • Project Team Member. Centre for International Forestry Research North American Test of Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forestry.
    • Director, Centre for Coastal Studies. School for Field Studies. Bamfield, British Columbia. Joint Appointment as Lecturer, Boston University.
    • Assistant Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management. Simon Fraser University. Burnaby, British Columbia.
    • Ontario.

    Publications and Presentations 
    • R. Narvaez Flores, P. A. Wright, S. Alvidrez Vitolas, M. Martinez Salvador. 2004. Manual Tecnico Para la Seleccion y Desarrollo de Criterios e Indicadores Para Evaluar el Manejo Forestal Sustentable en Bosques Templados. Technical Report Number 1. Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganderia, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentacion.
    • Mitchell, J.E., and P.A. Wright. 2004. Scale Affects Indicators of Sustainable Rangeland Management. Poster Presentation. 5th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management. Salt Lake City, Utah. January 24-30.
    • Wright, P., G. Alward, M. Turner and B. Tegler. 2003. Monitoring for Forest Management Unit Scale Sustainability: USFS LUCID Project. In the proceedings of the XII World Forestry Congress, Montreal.
    • Wright, P. A., Alward, G., Hoesktra, T. W., Tegler, B., & Turner, M. G. 2002. Monitoring for forest management unit scale sustainability: The local unit criteria and indicators development (LUCID) test (Technical Edition). Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service Inventory and Monitoring Report No. 4.
    • Wright, P. A., Alward, G., Colby, J. L., Hoesktra, T. W., Tegler, B., & Turner, M. G. 2002. Monitoring for forest management unit scale sustainability: The local unit criteria and indicators development (LUCID) test (Management Edition). Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service Inventory and Monitoring Report No. 5.
    • Wright, P. A. and R. Rollins. 2002. Managing the National Parks. In R. R. P. Dearden (Ed.), Parks and Protected Areas in Canada: Planning and Management (2nd ed., pp. 207-239). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.
    • Bridge, S., P. Wright and R. Rios. 2002. Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management: Relationships Between Multi-Scaled Initiatives. Prepared for the XXI Session of the North American Forest Commission, Hawaii.
    • Prabhu, R., P. Abbot, D. Blay, K. Buchanan, F. Castaneda, A. Danso, M. Dudley, J.M. Kim, A. Marjokorpi, M. Nkosi, B. Pokoryn, R. Prasad, H. Seppanen, H. Thiel, D. Wijewardena, P. Wright. 2002. Strengthening Institutional Capacity and Stakeholder Partnerships for Implementing Criteria and Indicators and Facilitating the Exchange of Information Between all Stakeholders. Paper prepared for the International Conference on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: The Contribution of Criteria and Indicators to Sustainable Forest Management.
    • Wright, P.A. 2002. General Guidelines for Measurement of Indicators for Model Forests. FAO. Vol. GCP/RAS/177/JPN Working Paper No. 2.
    • Wright, P.A. 2002. Proceedings of the Workshop to Develop Guidelines for the Measurement of Model Forest Level Indicators for SFM: FAO. Bangkok, Thailand.
    • Wright, P. 2001. Conceptual and Analytical Modeling for Sustainability: An Overview Paper for the Long Beach Model Forest. LBMF.
    • Wright, P.A. 2000. Unimpaired for Future Generations? Key Responses to the Threats to Protected Areas in Canada. In, Proceedings of the International Conference on Science and the Management of Protected Areas. Science and Management of Protected Areas Association, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
    • Parks Canada Agency. 2000. “Unimpaired for Future Generations”? Protecting Ecological Integrity with Canada’s National Parks. Vol. I “ A Call to Action”. Report of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada’s National Parks. Ottawa, ON.
    • Parks Canada Agency. 2000. “Unimpaired for Future Generations”? Protecting Ecological Integrity with Canada’s National Parks. Vol. II “Setting a New Direction for Canada’s National Parks”. Report of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada’s National Parks. Ottawa, ON.
    • Woodley, S., G. Alward, L. Iglesias Guitierrez, T.W. Hoekstra, B. Holt, L. Livingston, J. Loo, A. Skibicki, C. Williams and P.A. Wright. 2000. North American Test of Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forestry. USDA-FS. Inventory and Monitoring Institute Report No. 3.
    • Wright, P. 1999. Work Plan for the Monitoring Program of the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Ecosystem Management in Clayoquot Sound. LBMF Report.
    • Wright, P.A., S. Jackson and S. Stewart. 1996. Kluane National Park and Alsek River Wilderness Study. Final Report. 1996. Report prepared for Kluane National Park examining the wilderness experience in the park and the ecological impacts associated with the visitor experience on the Alsek River.
    • Wright, P.A., and D. Kelly. Lake O’Hara Visitor Experience Study. 1996. Lake O’Hara Socio-Ecological Research Project. Yoho National Park. Final Report. Report prepared for Yoho National Park examining trail use patterns and the visitor experience as part of the assessment and development of a decision-support model for the human-bear use study in Yoho.
    • Wright, P.A., M. Saprowich and A. Simpson. 1996. Jasper River Use Study. Final Report. Report prepared for Jasper National Park examining ecological and social impacts within the riparian environment.
    • Wright, P.A, P. Clarkson and M. Saprowich 1996. Recreation Impacts on River Ecosystems: Assessing the Impact of River Use on the Biophysical and Social Environment. In, Proceedings of the Canadian Heritage River System Conference.
    • Wong, T., H. Horn, P. Georgison, P.A.Wright and K. Lertzman. 1996. Landscape Unit Planning. A Review of Six Pilot Projects. FRDA II Discussion Paper.
    • Wright, P. and P. Clarkson. 1995. Recreation Impacts on River Ecosystems: Assessing the Impact of River Use on the Biophysical and Social Environment. In, Tom B. Herman (et al eds.) Ecosystem Monitoring and Protected Areas. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Science and the Management of Protected Areas. Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
    • Nesmith, C. and P. Wright. 1995. Gender, Resources and Environmental Management. In, Bruce Mitchell (ed.). Resource management and development: addressing conflict and uncertainty. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press.
    • Wright, P. 1994. Determining Appropriate Recreational Use on Rivers: Identifying Ecological and Social Opportunities and Constraints. In, Rivers Without Boundaries. Proceedings of the Second Biannual ARMS Symposium on River Planning and Management. Grand Junction, CO.
    • Askey, E. and P.A. Wright. 1993. Developing Sustainability for Tourism Use of Wilderness Waterways: Management Challenges on the Tatshenshini-Alsek River. In, D. Manz (ed). Proceedings of the 46th Canadian Water Resources Association Annual Conference. June 16-19, 1993. Banff, Alberta.

    Selected Reports and Projects 
    • International Model Forest Secretariate/Foreign Agricultural Office. Workshop on Developing and Measuring Criteria and Indicators of Forest Ecological and Social Sustainability for Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and China. [2002].
    • USDA Forest Service International Programs. Forest Monitoring Advisor for Chilean National Forest and Park Service [2002].
    • US AID and USDA Forest Service. Forest Monitoring Advisor and Project Coordinator for Sustainability Monitoring Initiatives in Temperate and Tropical Mexico [2000-Current].
    • Long Beach Model Forest Society. Selected Criteria and Indicator Projects [2000-2002].
    • BC Parks Protected Area Zoning Review [2000].
    • BC Parks. Conservation Values at Risk. Development and Pilot Application of a Method for Assessing State of the Parks. Prince George Region [2000].
    • BC Parks. Conservation Risk Assessment of Proposed Protected in the Omineca. Prince George Region [2000].
    • BC Ministry of Forests. Monitoring Plan for Community Forest Agreements [1999].
    • BC Ministry of Forests. Evaluation Plan for the Community Forest Pilot Project [1999].
    • Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada’s National Parks. Panel commissioned by the Federal Minister of Canadian Heritage [1998].
    • Centre for International Forestry Research. North American Test of Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forestry [1998].
    • Development of Criteria and Indicators for the Monitoring Program of the Science Panel for Sustainable Ecosystem Management in Clayoquot Sound. Clayoquot Sound Planning Committee, Long Beach Model Forest Society, and Clayoquot Biosphere Project [1998].
    • The Development of a Landscape Unit Plan and Watershed Analysis for the Pachena Watershed. Huu-ay-aht First Nations/Centre for Coastal Studies [1998].
    • Culturally Modified Trees and First Nations Use of Fleming Island. Huu-ay-aht First Nations/Centre for Coastal Studies [1998].
    • Ecological Risk Assessment to the Cultural Features of the Proposed Kiix?in National Historic Site and Interpretive Trail Design. Huu-ay-aht First Nations/Centre for Coastal Studies [1998].
    • The Development of a Landscape Unit Plan for Biological and Cultural Integrity for the Spencer Creek Traditional House Territory. Huu-ay-aht First Nations/Centre for Coastal Studies [1997].
    • Land Use, Alternative Forest Products, and Ecological Tourism Options for the Deer Group Islands. Huu-ay-aht First Nations/Centre for Coastal Studies [1997].
    • Tourism Use Inventory Methods in Clayoquot Sound. With Axys Environmental Consulting Group. Inc. [1997].
    • Department of Canadian Heritage. Parks Canada. Kluane National Park Service. Alsek and Kluane Wilderness Visitor Impact and Visitor Experience Study [1996-1997].
    • Department of Canadian Heritage. Parks Canada. Four Mountain Parks Horse Use Preliminary Study [1996-1997].
    • Yoho National Park. Lake O’Hara Human-Bear Conflict Study. Canadian Heritage [1995-1997].
    • Perceptions of Natural Disturbance and Alternate Silvicultural Practices. Forest Renewal BC/Science Council of BC [1995-1996].
    • Landscape Unit Pilot Project Evaluation. Ministry of Forests/FRDA II Funds [1995-1996].
    • Jasper National Park River Use Study. Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Parks Service [1993-1995].
    • Gendered Responses to the Environmental Movement. Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Strategic Grant/Women and Change [1993-1995].
    • Recreation Resource Assessment and Impact Monitoring System for the Greater Kitlope Ecosystem. Ecotrust/Haisla First Nation [1994].

    Professional Memberships 

    Graduate Students
    My research focuses on conservation-based approaches to protected areas design, planning and management; managing and monitoring the ecological integrity of protected areas; and the social and ecological impacts and benefits of tourism and recreation on wild spaces.

    Other research interests include ecosystem-based approaches to forest management and specifically the development of systems-based monitoring approaches for sustainable forest management.
    Recent graduate student topics:
    Kate Reade - Perceptions and understanding of forest health management in protected areas: A case study of Mt. Robson Provincial Park
    Sarah Elmeligi (co-supervised with John Shultis) - Impacts of boat-based wildlife watching in the Khutzymateen Inlet.
    Diana Kutzner - Indigenous ecotourism opportunities with the Tl'atz'en First Nation. Her interests are on the market and business aspects of indigenous tourism.
    Shane Hartman - Shane is working on indigenous ecotourism opportunities with the Tl'atz'en First Nation. Shane is interested in capacity issues for rural communities and First Nations and in particular conducting an asset analysis of community capacity.
    Dani McIntosh - Perceptions and meaning of wildlife viewing experiences 
    Amber Faktor - Aboriginal community tourism implementation planning
    Previous research topics for my graduate students have included:
    • Relationships Between Wildlife Richness and Characteristics of Protected Areas in B.C. Forest Ecosystem Networks: A Decision-Making Framework.
    • An Evaluation of Landscape Unit Planning Initiatives for Ecosystem Management in BC Forests. Managing Backcountry Visitor Impacts on the Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park.
    • An Analysis of Appropriate Activities Assessment Mechanisms in Protected Areas. Managing Commercial Recreation Activities in National Parks.
    • Recreational Demand and Policy Implications for the B.C. Marine Trail. Bear-Human Use Conflicts in Lake O¹Hara, Yoho National Park: Visitor Use and Choice Behaviour.
    • The Involvement of First Nations in the Establishment of Protected Areas in British Columbia. Incorporating First Nations Issues Into Land Use Planning: The Tahsish River Case Study.
    • Co-Management and Protected Areas in Canada: A Case Study of Gwaii Haanas.

    Links of Interest