ecological engineering

GC: n

CT: Ecological engineering has been defined as the design of ecosystems for the mutual benefit of humans and nature. Specific topics covered in the journal include: ecotechnology; synthetic ecology; bioengineering; sustainable agroecology; habitat reconstruction; restoration ecology; ecosystem conservation; ecosystem rehabilitation; stream and river restoration; wetland restoration and construction; reclamation ecology; non-renewable resource conservation. Applications of ecological engineering (or ecotechnology) include wetland creation and restoration, pollution control by ecosystems, restoration and rehabilitation of forests, grasslands, lakes, reservoirs and rivers, and development of sustainable agroecosystems.
Because ecological engineering is based on the premise of conserving both renewable and non-renewable resources by using both in partnership, the journal will also be pertinent to those involved in global climate change, alternative energy policies, ecological economics, environmental conservation, and global geopolitics.

S: ELSEVIER – (last access: 22nd December 2014)

N: 1. ecological (adj): 1899, see ecology (1873, oecology, “branch of science dealing with the relationship of living things to their environments,” coined in German by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) as Ökologie, from Greek oikos “house, dwelling place, habitation” + -logia “study of”. In use with reference to anti-pollution activities from 1960s.) + -ical (adjectival suffix, mostly the same as -ic but sometimes with specialized sense (such as historic/historical), Middle English, from Late Latin -icalis, from Latin -icus + -alis). Related: Ecologically.
engineering (n): 1720, “work done by an engineer,” from engineer (n.). As a field of study, attested from 1792. An earlier word was engineership (1640s); engineery was attempted in 1793, but it did not stick.
2. The term, “ecological engineering,” was first coined by Howard T. Odum in 1962. Howard Odum is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, where his work in systems ecology has flourished.
Ecological engineering, he wrote, is “those cases where the energy supplied by man is small relative to the natural sources but sufficient to produce large effects in the resulting patterns and processes.” (H.T. Odum, 1962, “Man and Ecosystem” Proceedings, Lockwood Conference on the Suburban Forest and Ecology. Bulletin Connecticut Agric. Station)
Another definition that follows from that relates to ecosystem management by human society (Center for Wetlands, University of Florida) :
“Ecological engineering is the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both. It involves the design, construction and management of ecosystems that have value to both humans and the environment. Ecological engineering combines basic and applied science from engineering, ecology, economics, and natural sciences for the restoration and construction of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The field is increasing in breadth and depth as more opportunities to design and use ecosystems as interfaces between technology and environment are explored.”
Another definition seeks to use the ecological paradigm to construct ecologies to solve vexing world-class problems, such as pollution:
It is predicated on the believe that the self-organizing order found in stable ecosystms is so universal that it can be applied as an engineering discipline to solve the pressing problems of global pollution, food production and efficient resource-utilization, while providing a high quality of life for all human society. (David Del Porto)
In this definition, the ecological paradigm reveals how to safely utilize the polluting components of unwanted residuals, or “wastes,” to ultimately grow green plants that have value to human society, but not at the expense of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Planning, design and construction with the ecological paradigm as a template is the work of ecological engineers.

S: 1. OED –; (last access: 22nd December 2014). 2. EEG – (last access: 22nd December 2014).


CR: ecology, environmental engineering, environment.