Ecological Engineering: A New Paradigm for Engineers and Ecologists

William J. Mitsch

A New Collaboration

The engineering profession is now in the position to make a substantial contribution to the ''greening'' of the planet through ideas such as ecological engineering. In this retrospective period of human history, it is important to determine, without necessarily questioning all that has been built and engineered to date, (1) whether to continue practices as usual (and whether we can afford to do so), and (2) what new approaches are available to engineers for restoring the "bodily functions" of nature on which we depend. Many signs indicate that a shift is taking place both within and outside the engineering profession to accommodate ecological approaches to what was formerly done through rigid engineering and a general avoidance of any reliance on natural systems. For example, engineers, resource managers, and ecologists are rethinking whether to restore the upper Mississippi River levees to their state before the 1993 floods or to take a more ecologically friendly approach. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now "greening" and some in that organization see themselves as the nation's ecological engineers. Agricultural engineers, known for the efficiency with which they drained the landscape, are retooling in many locations to rebuild wetlands. The Kissimmee River in Florida is being "restored"--at enormous cost--to something resembling its former self before it was straightened 20 years ago.

This paper presents the most recent definition of ecological engineering, examines the new field in its historical context, contrasts it with other fields, presents a classification system for ecological engineering projects, and summarizes recent events related to the development of the field.



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--> Ecological Engineering: A New Paradigm for Engineers and Ecologists William J. Mitsch A New Collaboration The engineering profession is now in the position to make a substantial contribution to the ''greening'' of the planet through ideas such as ecological engineering. In this retrospective period of human history, it is important to determine, without necessarily questioning all that has been built and engineered to date, (1) whether to continue practices as usual (and whether we can afford to do so), and (2) what new approaches are available to engineers for restoring the "bodily functions" of nature on which we depend. Many signs indicate that a shift is taking place both within and outside the engineering profession to accommodate ecological approaches to what was formerly done through rigid engineering and a general avoidance of any reliance on natural systems. For example, engineers, resource managers, and ecologists are rethinking whether to restore the upper Mississippi River levees to their state before the 1993 floods or to take a more ecologically friendly approach. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now "greening" and some in that organization see themselves as the nation's ecological engineers. Agricultural engineers, known for the efficiency with which they drained the landscape, are retooling in many locations to rebuild wetlands. The Kissimmee River in Florida is being "restored"--at enormous cost--to something resembling its former self before it was straightened 20 years ago. This paper presents the most recent definition of ecological engineering, examines the new field in its historical context, contrasts it with other fields, presents a classification system for ecological engineering projects, and summarizes recent events related to the development of the field.

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--> Development and Definition of Ecological Engineering Ecological Engineering as an Extension of Ecology Ecological engineering is a new field with its roots in the science of ecology. It can be viewed as designing or restoring ecosystems according to ecological principles learned over the past century (Figure 1). Ecology, as a field often designated as a discipline within the biological sciences, has had a strong history of development over the past century, dating back to the coining of the term ecology by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1866). The principles of the field have been developed by scientists such as Cowles, Shelford, Clements, Gleason, Lotka, Elton, Thienemann, Forel, Lindeman, Likens, Hutchinson, the Odum brothers, and others. As with any science, much discussion centers on which theories are correct, particularly with ecological energetics and concepts such as succession, but a strong science has developed at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. Applied ecology, as an extension of these ecological theories, has become popular since the 1960s, particularly in light of public concern for environmental matters. But it has usually been limited to monitoring and assessing environmental impacts or managing natural resources; that is, it has principally remained descriptive. Good examples of recent applied fields in ecology are ecotoxicology and landscape ecology, both of which are descriptive of humanity's effects on the environment. But description alone is not sufficient to deal with many of today's environmental issues. The solution to some of these seemingly unsolvable problems requires a prescriptive discipline (Odum, 1989a), that is, one that depends on the environmental problems being defined and then prescribes a solution to those problems. One recently proposed prescriptive discipline is called ecological engineering (Mitsch and Jørgensen, 1989a; Mitsch, 1993). Both basic and applied ecology provide fundamental concepts to ecological engineering but do not define it completely. Ecological engineering should have its roots in the science of ecology, just as chemical engineering is close to chemistry and biochemical engineering is close to biochemistry. It logically should be considered a branch of ecology as well as a new field of engineering. Definition and Goals At a May 1993 workshop on ecological engineering sponsored by the National Research Council (see New Discipline, 1993), in a slight variation of the definition given in the Mitsch and Jørgensen (1989b), ecological engineering was defined as the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both.

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--> FIGURE 1 The relationships among ecology, applied ecology, and ecological engineering. Ecological engineering depends on the theories developed by traditional ecology (theoretical and applied), but knowledge gained from successes and failures of ecological engineering systems will feed back to substantiate or refute many ecological theories (from Mitsch, 1993, copyright 1993 American Chemical Society, adapted with permission). In short, it involves the building of ecosystems that have value to both humans and nature. Ecological engineering combines basic and applied science for the restoration, design, and construction of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The goals of ecological engineering and ecotechnology are as follows: The restoration of ecosystems that have been substantially disturbed by human activities such as environmental pollution or land disturbance. The development of new sustainable ecosystems that have human and ecological value. History of Ecological Engineering The term ecological engineering was coined by H. T. Odum in the 1960s (Odum, 1962, 1971; Odum et al., 1963) and has since been used extensively in North America, Europe, and especially China. Ecological engineering was first

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--> defined in terms of energy flow as "those cases in which the energy supplied by man is small relative to the natural sources, but sufficient to produce large effects in the resulting patterns and processes" (Odum, 1962) and as "environmental manipulation by man using small amounts of supplementary energy to control systems in which the main energy drives are still coming from natural sources" (Odum et al., 1963). Odum (1971) elaborated on the breadth of ecological engineering by stating that ''the management of nature is ecological engineering, an endeavor with singular aspects supplementary to those of traditional engineering." In his view, ''partnership with nature is a better term." Ecotechnology, which is sometimes used synonymously with ecological engineering, has been described as "the use of technological means for ecosystem management, based on deep ecological understanding, to minimize the costs of measures and their harm to the environment" (Straskraba, 1993; Straskraba and Gnauck, 1985). Combining ecosystem function with human needs is the emphasis of ecological engineering, defined by Mitsch and Jørgensen (1989b) as "the design of human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both." That definition amplifies Odum's points by illustrating that if society used the energy flows of nature as opposed to the fossil fuel-based energy of conventional technology, two issues could be addressed: (1) an environmental problem might be solved, and (2) precious nonrenewable resources would not be expended in great amounts to accomplish this solution. Ecological engineering provides approaches for conserving our natural environment while at the same time adapting to and sometimes solving difficult environmental pollution problems. The term ecological engineering has been applied to the treatment of wastewater and septage in ecologically based "green machines," with indoor greenhouse applications built both in Sweden and the United States in the late 1980s (Guterstam and Todd, 1990; Teal and Peterson, 1991, 1993). Here the applications are described as "environmentally responsible technology [which] would provide little or no sludge, generate useful by-products, use no hazardous chemicals in the process chain, and remove synthetic chemicals from the wastewater" (Guterstam and Todd, 1990). All applications within this subset of ecological engineering use ecosystems for treatment of human wastes, with an emphasis on truly solving problems with an ecological system rather than simply shifting the problem to another medium. Concurrent with, but separate from, development of ecological engineering concepts in the West was the emergence of a similar development of the term ecological engineering in China (see Mitsch et al., 1993a, for an entire issue of a journal dedicated to ecological engineering in China). Much of the approach to environmental management in China has remained an art, but in the past decade there has been explicit use of the term ecological engineering in China to describe a formal "design with nature" philosophy of the late Professor Ma Shijun (Ma, 1985, 1988; Ma et al., 1988; Ma and Yan, 1989). Ma (1988) defined ecological engineering as "a specially designed system of production processes

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--> in which the principles of the species symbiosis and the cycling and regeneration of substances in an ecological system are applied while adopting the systems engineering technology and introducing new technologies and excellent traditional production measures to make a multi-step use of substance." He suggested that ecological engineering was first proposed in China in 1978 and is now used throughout the country, with about 500 sites that practice agro-ecological engineering, defined as an "application of ecological engineering in agriculture" (Ma, 1988). That number has since been updated to about 2,000 applications of ecological engineering in China (Yan and Zhang, 1992; Yan et al., 1993). At a Symposium on Agro-ecological Engineering in Beijing (Ma et al., 1988), Qi and Tian (1988) suggested that "the objective of ecological research [in China] is being transformed from systems analysis to system design and construction," stating that ecology now has a great knowledge base from observational and experimental ecology and is in the position to meet global environmental problems through ecosystem design, the main task of ecological engineering. Yan and Yao (1989) describe integrated fish culture management as it is practiced in China as ecological engineering because of its attention to waste recycling and use Principles in Ecological Engineering A few basic concepts collectively distinguish ecological engineering from more conventional engineering approaches to solving environmental problems: Application of self-design. Ecosystem building as the acid test of ecological theories. Reliance on system approaches. Conservation of nonrenewable energy sources. Conservation of nature. Self-design Ecotechnology is dependent on the self-designing capability of ecosystems and nature. When changes occur, natural systems shift, species are substituted for each other, and food chains reorganize. As individual species sort, as some arc selected and others are not, a new system ultimately emerges that is well suited to the environment superimposed on it. Humans participate in self-design by providing choices of initial species, matching species with the environment. Nature does the rest. For example, in designing a wetland, we may want to introduce dozens of different plants at different water depths because of our inability to predict exactly where certain plants will survive and even if they will survive at all. Nature then takes over and chooses the plants that will thrive at certain water depths, soil conditions, and grazing pressures. Odum (1989a) refers

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--> to this capability of self-design as self-organization, which "designs a mix of man-made and ecological components [in a] pattern that maximizes performance, because it reinforces the strongest of alternative pathways that are provided by the variety of species and human initiatives." Multiple seeding of species into ecologically engineered systems is one way to speed the selection process in this self-organization, or self-design (Odum, 1989b). As described by Mitsch and Jørgensen (1989b): [Ecological engineering] is engineering in the sense that it involves the design of this natural environment using quantitative approaches and basing our approaches on basic science. It is technology with the primary tool being self-designing ecosystems. The components are all of the biological species of the world. This focus on, and use of, biological species, communities, and ecosystems with a reliance on self-design is one feature that distinguishes ecotechnology from the traditional engineering technologies, which rely on devices and facilities to remove, transform, or contain pollutants, but which do not consider direct manipulation of ecosystems. The Acid Test The ecological theories that have been put forward in scholarly ecological publications over the past 100 years need to serve as the basis of the language and the practice of ecological engineering. But just as there is the possibility of these theories providing the basis for engineering design of ecosystems, there is a high probability of advancing the understanding of ecological systems in ecological engineering because of the unique research approach that reconstructing ecosystems provides to scientists. Bradshaw (1987) has described the restoration of a disturbed ecosystem as the "acid test of our understanding of that system." Restoration ecologists have made a clear connection between basic research and ecosystem restoration through the analogy that the best way to understand a system, whether a car or a watch, is to "attempt to reassemble it, to repair it, and to adjust it so that it works properly" (Jordan et al., 1987). Thus, ecotechnology is really a technique for doing fundamental ecological research and applying it. A Synthesis, not Reductionism Ecological engineering emphasizes, as does systems modeling for ecologists, the need to consider the entire ecosystem, compartment by compartment, but ultimately to make a whole. Odum (1989a) has stated that the practice of ecological engineering cannot be supported completely by reductive, analytic, experimental testing and relating. Approaches such as modeling and benefit-cost analysis are more important, as ecosystem design and prognosis cannot be pre-

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--> dicted by summing parts to make a whole. We must learn to work with whole ecosystems rather than one species at a time. We must be able to synthesize a great number of disciplines to understand and deal with the design of ecosystems. Restoration ecology, a subfield of ecological engineering, has been described as a field in which the investigator is forced to study the entire system rather than components of the system in isolation from each other (Cairns, 1988b). Cairns goes on to state that "One of the most compelling reasons for the failure of theoretical ecologists to spend more time on restoration ecology is the exposure of serious weaknesses in many of the widely accepted theories and concepts of ecology" (Cairns, 1988b). Nonrenewable Resource Conservation Because most ecosystems are primarily solar-based systems, they are self-sustaining. Once an ecosystem is constructed, it should be able to sustain itself indefinitely through self-design with only a modest amount of intervention. This means that the ecosystem, running on solar energy or the products of solar energy, should not need to depend on technological fossil energies as much as it would if a traditional technological solution to the same problem were implemented. If the system does not sustain itself, it does not mean that the ecosystem has failed us (its behavior is ultimately predictable). It means that the ecological engineering has not facilitated the proper interface between nature and the environment. Modem environmental technology, for the most part, is based on an economy supported by nonrenewable (fossil fuel) energy; ecotechnology is based on the use of some nonrenewable energy at the start (the design and construction work by the ecological engineer) followed by dependence on solar energy. Ecosystem Conservation Ecological engineering involves identifying those biological systems that are most adaptable to human needs and those human needs that are most adaptable to existing ecosystems. Ecological engineers have in their toolboxes all of the ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms that the world has to offer. Therefore, a direct consequence of ecological engineering is that it would be counterproductive to eliminate or even disturb natural ecosystems unless absolutely necessary. This is analogous to the conservation ethic that is shared by many farmers even though they may till the landscape. This suggests that the ecotechnology approach could lead to a greater environmental conservation ethic than has been realized up to now. For example, when wetlands were recognized for their ecosystem values of flood control and water quality enhancement, wetland protection efforts gained a much wider degree of acceptance and even enthusiasm than they had before, despite their long-understood values as habitat for fish and wildlife (Mitsch and Gosselink, 1993). In short, recognition of ecosys-

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--> tem values provides greater justification for the conservation of ecosystems. A corollary of this observation is the point made by Aldo Leopold that the first rule of a tinkerer is to not throw away any of the parts. The ecological engineer is nature's tinkerer. Comparisons with Existing Fields Environmental Engineering Ecological engineering is not the same as environmental engineering, a respected field that has been well established in universities and the workplace since the early 1960s and was called sanitary engineering before that. Environmental engineers are certainly involved in the application of scientific principles to solve pollution problems, but the concepts usually involve energy and re-source-intensive operations such as settling tanks, scrubbers, filters, and chemical precipitators. Certainly, some techniques such as trickling falters could be considered ecological engineered approaches when they were conceived, but the field has gone far beyond designing ecosystems. It is certainly possible that ecological engineering will develop in a partnership with environmental engineering, but the two fields remain distinct today. For interesting discussions of the differences and similarities between these two fields, see McCutcheon and Walski (1994), Mitsch (1994), and Odum (1994). Biotechnology Ecological engineering and its synonym "ecotechnology" should also not be confused with biotechnology, which involves genetic manipulation to produce new strains and organisms to carry out specific functions. Some of the differences between ecotechnology and biotechnology relate to their basic principles, control, design, and ultimate possible costs to society (see Mitsch and Jørgensen, 1989b). Nevertheless, a comparison can be made between the development of ecotechnology and biotechnology. Ecotechnology is almost at the stage where biotechnology was 20 years ago. Molecular biology was just beginning then to establish the basic science and techniques for the yet unborn field of biotechnology. Today, ecology is recognized as a fundamental science and is now developing the ecosystem-level tools to develop the field of ecotechnology. Despite the progress made in biotechnology (usually involving genetic manipulation of species), many researchers and environmental managers believe that it will not be a major factor in solving the world's environmental problems and that there may be some adverse environmental consequences from its development. Ecotechnology, which uses the existing array of species, communities, and ecosystems of the earth, may receive more attention as limitations of biotechnology are experienced.

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--> Restoration Fields Restoration ecology has been described as "the full or partial replacement of structural or functional characteristics that have been extinguished or diminished and the substitution of alternative qualities or characteristics than the ones originally present with the proviso that they have more social, economic, or ecological value than existed in the disturbed or displaced state" (Cairns, 1988b). Several restoration fields have developed somewhat independently, and all appear to have the design of ecosystems as their theme. Although related to ecological engineering or even a part of it, several of these approaches seem to lack one of the two major criteria of ecological engineering, namely (1) recognizing the self-designing ability of ecosystems or (2) basing the approaches on a theoretical base, not just empiricism. Early work in Europe was based on the concept of bioengineering, the use of plants as engineering materials (Schiechtl, 1980). More recently, much has been written on restoration ecology (Aber and Jordan, 1985; Buckley, 1989; Jordan et al., 1987) and ecosystem rehabilitation (Cairns, 1988a; Wali, 1992). This approach has also been applied to river and stream restoration (Gore, 1985) and to agriculture as agroecosystems (Lowrance et al., 1984). Classifications of Ecologicality Engineered Systems Classification According to Function Ecological engineering, or ecotechnology, involves several approaches or applications to the design of landscapes (Table 1). These applications range from constructing new ecosystems for solving environmental problems to ecologically sound harvesting of existing ecosystems. Classification According to Structure Early development of ecological engineering in the West has stressed a partnership with nature and has been investigated primarily in experimental ecosystems rather than in full-scale applications. Some of the more significant experiments that have been conducted or are currently under way in ecological engineering relate to aquatic systems, particularly shallow ponds and wetlands. Ecological engineering as practiced in China has been applied to a wide variety of natural resource and environmental problems, ranging from fisheries and agriculture to wastewater control and coastline protection. The emphasis in the Chinese systems has been on applications rather than experimentation and on the production of food and fiber more than environmental protection (Mitsch, 1991; Mitsch et al., 1993b). To simplify the variety of approaches and systems used in ecological engineering, Mitsch (1993) divided ecological engineering case studies into three categories:

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--> TABLE 1 Classification and Examples of Ecological Engineering According to Types of Applications Application Examples Ecosystems are used to reduce or solve a pollution problem that otherwise would be harmful to other ecosystems. Wastewater recycling in wetlands; sludge recycling Ecosystems are imitated or copied to reduce or solve a resource problem. Reconstructed wetlands; integrated fishponds The recovery of an ecosystem is supported after significant disturbance. Surface coal mine restoration; lake and river restoration; restoration of hazardous waste sites Existing ecosystems are modified in an ecologically sound way to solve an environmental problem. Biomanipulation of fish in reservoirs; biological control of eutrophication symptoms Ecosystems are used for the benefit of humans without destroying the ecological balance. Sustainable agroecosystems; sound renewable resource harvesting   SOURCE: From Jørgensen and Mitsch (1989). Mesocosms Ecosystems Regional systems Examples of systems in each of these categories are given in Table 2. Mesocosms are generally artificially enclosed systems (sometimes called closed systems) but can range in size from laboratory bench-size systems to Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Much of our understanding of ecosystem behavior can come from the construction of scale-model ecosystems. Scale models of ecosystems (microcosms and mesocosms) have been built around the world (Beyers and Odum, 1993), including scale models of both the Everglades and Chesapeake Bay (Adey and Loveland, 1991) and experimental mesocosms to investigate the role of hydroperiods (the fluctuation in water level over time) on nutrient and metal retention in marshes (Busnardo et al., 1992; Sinicrope et al., 1992). Ecosystem applications have been dominated by wetlands and water pollution control ecosystems; the ecosystem is probably the scale for which we have the most examples of ecological engineering today. Regional systems involve the construction or restoration of a multiplicity of ecosystems that are all interconnected in reinforcing patterns and pathways. Many examples of this type of system are found in China where human nutrition is tied into a functional ecosystem or set of ecosystems.

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--> TABLE 2 Classification and Examples of Ecological Engineering Case Studies at Mesocosm, Ecosystem, and Regional Scales Ecological Engineering Project Location Purpose References Mesocosm (Closed System)       Treatment of septage wastes Harwich, Massachusetts Produce clean water (drinking water standards) from septage from an unlined landfill lagoon Teal and Peterson (1991, 1993) Biosphere 2 Oracle, Arizona Simulate planet earth and investigate possible space habitation Nelson et al. (1993) Ecosystem       Experimental estuarine ponds Morehead City, North Carolina Investigate estuarine ponds receiving a mixture of wastewater and salt water Odum (1989b) Forested wetlands for recycling Gainesville, Florida Experimentally investigate forested cypress domes for wastewater recycling and conservation Odum et al. (1977); Ewel and Odum (1984) Root-zone wetlands for wastewater treatment Throughout Europe Investigate use of root-zone wetlands to provide tertiary treatment of wastewater Brix (1987); Gumbricht (1992) Renovation of coal mine drainage Coshocton County, Ohio Study iron retention from coal mine drainage with Typha wetland Fennessy and Mitsch (1989) River pollution control Suzhou, China Use water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) for water pollution control and production of fodder Ma and Yan (1989) Heavy metal removal from soils Copenhagen, Denmark Use plants and EDTA to remove metals Jørgensen (1993) Forest reconstruction Throughout Japan Develop dense stands of woody vegetation to hide industrial complexes, control visual, noise, and chemical pollution, stabilize soil, and provide urban green space Miyawaki and Galley (1993)

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--> Ecological Engineering Project Location Purpose References Region       Restoration of riparian landscape Lake County, Illinois Restore midwestern U.S. river floodplain and determine design procedures for restored wetlands Hey et al. (1989) Phosphate mine restoration Central Florida Reconstruct wetland/upland landscape at phosphate mine Brown et al. (1992) Agro-Ecological Engineering Several hundred sites in China Incorporate multiple-product farming with extensive recycling Ma et al. (1988); Yan et al. (1993) Fish production/wetland systems Yixing County, Jiangsu Province, China Produce fisheries synchronized to Phragmites wetland production and harvesting Mitsch (1991) Salt marsh restoration China's east coast, esp. Wenling, Zhejiang Province Develop Spartina marshes on former barren coastline for shoreline protection and food and fuel production Chung (1993) Integrated tree-livestock system Somalia Develop Acacia albida crop-livestock system Unruh (1993)

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--> Importance to Ecology and Environmental Management The need for ecological engineering is evident in the following arguments: The state of the environment, combined with a dwindling of nonrenewable natural resources available to solve environmental problems, suggests that the time has come for a new paradigm in engineering that deals with questions and solutions on the scale of ecosystems and landscapes. There are a great number of environmental and resource problems that need an ecosystem approach, not just a standard technological solution. Ecotechnology will play a significant role in a sustainable society. Since we cannot solve all of our environmental problems with technological solutions alone and since our energy future is clouded, we need to investigate alternative means of cleaning the environment. Many current solutions to environmental problems are part of a "shell game." We control one kind of pollution, such as water pollution, to find that we have another kind of problem, such as a waste disposal problem on land. Little attention is paid to ecologically sound approaches that consider both direct and indirect effects. Ecological engineering is currently being practiced by many professions under a great variety of names, including ecotechnology, ecosystem restoration, artificial ecology, biomanipulation, ecosystem rehabilitation, nature engineering (in Holland), and bioengineering (originated in Germany) but with little theory to back the practices. Engineers are building wetlands, lakes, and rivers with little understanding of the biological integrity of these systems. Ecologists and landscape architects now design ecosystems with homespun methodologies that must be relearned each time. Engineers who design ecosystems relearn the approaches each time and do not generally publish their successes in the open literature. The theory has not yet connected with the practice. Engineering and ecology are ripe for integration into one field and should not remain separate approaches that are often adversarial. Ecology as a science is not routinely integrated into engineering curricula, even in environmental engineering programs. Engineers are missing the one science that could help them the most in environmental matters. Likewise, environmental scientists and managers are missing the tremendously effective engineering approach in their problem solving. The basic science of ecological engineering is ecology, a field that has now matured to the point that it needs to have a prescriptive—rather than just a descriptive—aspect. Engineers now need, more than ever, a better understanding of ecological concepts and limitations in their daily practice, particularly if they deal with natural systems. For example, an important aspect of ecological engineering, the application of self-design (i.e., Mother Nature as the general contractor and chief engineer), is a decided departure from most traditional engineering. Engineering

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--> to this point in history has been interested in designing totally predictable systems with little left to chance or the vagaries of nature. The idea of nature conservation is so important that it needs to become a goal of engineering, not just one of its possible outcomes. Short- and Long-Term Impact of Ecological Engineering In the short-term, ecotechnology could bring immediate attention to the importance of ''designing and building ecosystems'' as a logical extension of the field of ecology as it applies directly to solving environmental problems. In the long-term, ecotechnology will provide the basic and applied scientific results needed by environmental regulators and managers to control some types of pollution while reconstructing the landscape in an ecologically sound way. The formalization of the idea that natural ecosystems have values for humans, other than directly commercial ones, is also a benefit of ecotechnology and will go a long way toward promoting an environmental conservation ethic and preserving biodiversity. Specifically, ecotechnology will contribute to an improved environment in the long-term in several ways: In the future we will be faced with climate changes, disappearing wetlands, degraded forests, and polluted lakes and coastal waters. A combination of adaptation and prevention may be the most appropriate strategy. Ecotechnology will provide environmental managers with the tools needed to facilitate adaptation of natural and human systems to these changes. Major land use changes such as surface mining and the draining of wetlands continue to alter the landscape. Wetland mitigation and surface mine reclamation are generally approached empirically, with little bridging to the theory of ecosystem function. The emphasis on fundamental work as a basis of ecological engineering will provide ecological theory to support and refine current empirical approaches. Ecotechnology will be needed as environmental agencies begin to clean up the environment through conventional approaches. The restoration of dumps for solid and hazardous waste, the reintroduction of fish and other aquatic organisms in recently improved streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and the recovery of forests with the reduction in acid precipitation all require ecological engineers who know which species to reintroduce. Recent Developments There are some signs that ecotechnology will become prominent in research communities in the near future and may well serve as the newest frontier of ecological science. Research support is generally increasing for fields related to

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--> ecological engineering, including ecosystem restoration and biomanipulation (Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation), wetland design and experimentation (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation), reservoir and lake restoration (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies), nonpoint source water pollution control (EPA and Department of Agriculture [USDA]), forest recovery (USDA Forest Service), and sustainable agroecosystems (USDA). The first known international ecological engineering conference, held in Trosa, Sweden (Etnier and Guterstam, 1991), highlighted many of the applications of indoor and outdoor ecological engineering wastewater systems. This was followed by a workshop in May 1993 sponsored by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Two new journals—Ecological Engineering and The Journal of Ecotechnology and Ecological Restoration—have been launched in the past three years. SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment), with the encouragement of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, has approved a multiyear, three-continent workshop project entitled Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration. A society for ecological engineers is beginning to form in Europe. The dialogue between environmental engineers and ecological engineers has begun with joint editorials in 1994 in the Journal of Environmental Engineering and Ecological Engineering (see McCutcheon and Walski, 1994; Mitsch, 1994; Odum, 1994). Ecological engineering programs in academia are being discussed in a variety of departments and programs at the Ohio State University, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, and University of Florida. Students have read the new literature on the field and are eager to find universities that have integrated programs in this new field. Professional certification issues must be addressed, but ecologists, noticing the professional stature of engineering, have developed at least one certification program for professional ecologists (Ecological Society of America Professional Certification) and at least two for wetland specialists (Society of Wetland Ecologists and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Conclusions The integration of ecology into an application that some ecologists have chosen to call ecological engineering, or ecotechnology, has not yet taken place to as great a degree as might be expected, given the great public concern for major environmental problems. Compared with graduates in engineering, graduates in ecology remain near the start of the learning curve when confronted with real-life issues of wetland construction, river restoration, habitat reconstruction, or mine land rehabilitation. They often rise to the occasion quickly with homespun ecotechnology and novel approaches, but they must continually relearn techniques that work. Engineers, on the other hand, know hydrology, physical sciences, and design principles, but are not well versed in the ecology necessary

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