Bachelor of Arts, Env. Geography - Simon Fraser University
Master of Resource Management - Simon Fraser University
Supervisor: Dr. Murray Rutherford
Areas of research interest: transboundary environments, water resources, resilience theory, public policy, climate change adaptation, institutional boundary zones, social networks
Project title: Adapting International Water Agreements for Biodiversity Conservation in a Changing Climate
Description: Cedar’s research examines how international freshwater treaties can be adapted to improve species conservation in transboundary basins. These agreements constitute some of the most successful platforms for cooperation in the world, but they are development focused (e.g. hydropower, irrigation) and usually omit environmental values. Those agreements that do contain conservation-oriented measures often limit their focus to avoiding chemical contamination and conserving water supply for human purposes. Other species are rarely acknowledged - their protection is traditionally the domain of domestic regulation, yet when these domestic rules conflict with water treaties, international-scale tensions can arise. Transboundary river basins cover nearly fifty percent of the earth’s land surface and overlap with the ranges of numerous endangered species. Many of these species have cultural, economic and ecological significance, as well as intrinsic value. Is the absence of species conservation measures in freshwater treaties a missed opportunity? The global climate is changing and in many shared river basins new trends in temperature and precipitation foreshadow increased conflicts between development and conservation goals. Where conflict occurs it may scale up to the international level and challenge existing cooperative structures. Such disturbances to transboundary water institutions will be more likely where sufficiently powerful stakeholder groups value endangered species, and when policy windows open for treaty amendment or revision. Cedar’s research considers how to harness the cooperative strengths of existing agreements to prepare for these occasions, and for climate change, by assessing how freshwater treaties can be adapted to include species conservation objectives. He examines institutional, political, legal, ecological and economic dimensions of this problem using an interdisciplinary approach that focuses primarily on the Canada-USA Columbia River Treaty. Cedar aims to understand the opportunities and obstacles for integrating conservation objectives into such agreements, the roles of key policy actors, and the economic basis for including salmon conservation in a revised Columbia River Treaty. Since Canada and the USA must state their intention by 2014 if they plan to terminate or re-negotiate the Treaty in 2024, Cedar’s research is positioned to contribute to these upcoming decisions. [learn more]
Profile: An initial career in tourism management prompted Cedar’s early interest in conflict management and inspired him to pursue training in alternative dispute resolution. Years of immersion in BC’s outdoors both for personal enjoyment and as a kayak guide also instilled a deep environmental ethic that drew Cedar back to school keen to combine his twin passions of dispute resolution and environment. After an undergraduate degree in Environmental Geography, Cedar completed his Masters in Resource and Environmental Management studying environmental dispute resolution in BC land use planning. That experience intensified his longtime fascination with freshwater and his desire to tap the creative potential for innovation that exists at boundary zones. These various passions and interests have culminated in Cedar’s current doctoral work in the Columbia Basin. Cedar is also co-chair of the Water Research Group, a student member of the Planning Institute of British Columbia, the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Canadian Water Resources Association and the International Network for Social Network Analysis, a past researcher for SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team, and a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions graduate fellow.
2013 Canadian Pacific/Teck Resources Award for Environmental Innovation; 2011-2013 SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (PhD); 2010 Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions Graduate Fellowship (PhD); 2008 SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Scholarship (Masters); 2008 Silverhill Institute of Environmental Research and Conservation Major Grant
Morton, C. 2009. Evaluating Collaborative Planning: A Case Study of the Morice Land and Resource Management Plan. M.R.M. research project no. 482, School of Resource and Environmental Management. Burnaby, BC: Simon Fraser University.
Peer Reviewed Publications:
Morton, C., Gunton, T. I. and Day, J.C. 2012. Engaging aboriginal populations in collaborative planning: an evaluation of a two-tiered collaborative planning model for land and resource management. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 55(4).
Morton, C. 2010. Book review [Review of the book: Public participation and better environmental decisions - The promise and limits of participatory processes for the quality of environmentally related decision-making]. Policy Sciences 44.