Engineering Within Ecological Constraints

Edited by Peter C. Schulze

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1996



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--> Engineering Within Ecological Constraints Edited by Peter C. Schulze NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1996

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering. This volume has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. The interpretations and conclusions expressed in the papers are those of the authors and are not presented as the views of the council, officers, or staff of the National Academy of Engineering. Funding for the activity that led to this publication was provided by the W. M. Keck Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Academy of Engineering Technology Agenda Program. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Engineering within ecological constraints / edited by Peter C. Schulze. p. cm. "National Academy of Engineering." Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-05198-3 (alk. paper) 1. Ecological engineering. I. Schulze, Peter C. II. National Academy of Engineering. GE350.E54 1996 628—dc20 95-47174 CIP Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Cover art: The Japanese Footbridge by Claude Monet, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. This book is printed on recycled paper. Printed in the United States of America

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--> PREFACE Advances in engineering and technology have historically been crucial to solving important societal problems, including those that result from the environmental impacts of humans. This pattern will undoubtedly continue into the future. Unfortunately, however, the application of some innovations has had undesirable, sometimes unanticipated, environmental consequences. Therefore, a primary challenge for the future is to maximize the benefits of technological innovation and use while minimizing undesirable environmental effects. One response to this challenge is the recent efforts in business and industry that emphasize preventing environmental damage, a practice based on industrial ecology. Like traditional ecology, which is the study of natural and managed ecosystems, industrial ecology is the study of industrial systems and their relationships to natural and managed ecosystems. The foundation of industrial ecology is a systems approach to environmental design and management based on an understanding of the flows of materials and energy in industrial and consumer activities, the effects of these flows on the environment, and the influences of economic, political, regulatory, and social factors on the flow, use, and transformation of resources. These efforts have made substantial progress in reducing pollution and the consumption of raw materials per unit of production. However, inefficiencies are only part of the problem. Gains in efficiency can be overshadowed by concurrent increases in the scale of production that result from population growth or increased per capita consumption. For example, efficiency improvements in fishing technology have led to overfishing and the collapse of several fisheries. Fishing quotas designed to address this problem ideally are based on economic theory and on ecological data

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--> and reasoning. In fisheries as in other areas of economic activity, averting problems of overuse will require that insights from ecology, engineering, economics, and other fields be better integrated in devising technological and policy solutions. The papers in this volume are the products of a National Academy of Engineering (NAE) meeting intended to take a small step toward promoting the necessary multidisciplinary approach. They were contributed by engineers, ecologists, and social scientists. They provide a variety of perspectives on the challenges faced in efforts to engineer within ecological constraints. We hope these papers will contribute to efforts to find paths toward sustainability and will stimulate further cross-disciplinary interaction. This volume originates from an April 1994 meeting we chaired based on a concept originated by Peter Schulze. Both the publication and the meeting are components of an ongoing NAE initiative exploring issues of technology and the environment. We are indebted to the authors for their excellent contributions, to a group of external reviewers of those contributions, and to an editorial team composed of Peter Schulze, Dale Langford, Jessica Blake, and Penny Gibbs. On behalf of Peter Schulze, thanks also go to Austin College for supporting his work on this volume. In addition, we thank Deanna Richards, who heads up the NAE's technology and the environment effort, and Bruce Guile, who directs the NAE Program Office, for excellent advice and assistance throughout the project. Special appreciation also goes to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for supporting this project and related elements of the NAE's Technology and Environment Program. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the leadership at the NAE for the foresight to initiate and sustain the NAE's program that continues to play a catalytic role in examining the intimate connection between technology and the environment. ROBERT A. FROSCH SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, CSIA HARVARD UNIVERSITY PAUL G. RISSER PRESIDENT MIAMI UNIVERSITY OF OHIO

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--> CONTENTS Overview and Perspectives Peter C. Schulze, Robert A. Frosch, and Paul G. Risser   1 Perspectives on Ecology and Engineering         Determining the Balance Between Technological and Ecosystem Services John Cairns, Jr.   13     Engineering Resilience versus Ecological Resilience C. S. Holling   31     A Scalar Approach to Ecological Constraints Bryan G. Norton   45     A Perspective on the Relationship Between Engineering and Ecology Robert Herman   65     Designing Sustainable Ecological Economic Systems Robert Costanza   79     Ecological Integrity and Ecological Health Are Not the Same James R. Karr   97

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-->     Ecological Engineering: A New Paradigm for Engineers and Ecologists William J. Mitsch   111     Why Aren't All Engineers Ecologists? Albert H. Wurth, Jr.   129 Case Studies         Engineering for Development in Environmentally Sensitive Areas: Oil Operations in a Rain Forest June Lindstedt-Siva, Lou C. Soileau IV, Dilworth W. Chamberlain, and Martin L. Wouch   141     Lessons in Water Resource and Ecosystem Regulation from Florida's Everglades and California's Bay/Delta Estuary John R. Wodraska and Peter E. von Haam   163     Engineering Studies Based on Ecological Criteria Hsieh Wen Shen   177     "Do No Harm": A New Philosophy for Reconciling Engineering and Ecology David J. Schaeffer   187 Biographical Data   197 Index   205

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Engineering Within Ecological Constraints

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