Ecological engineering and conventional engineering solutions

Ecological engineering involves “the design, construction and management of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both” (Mitsch and Jørgensen, 2003).

Shortcomings of both Ecology and Engineering are addressed in the integrated field of Ecological Engineering. It combines basic and applied science from engineering, ecology, economics and natural sciences in a healthy blend of ecology and technology for the restoration,construction and management of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Ecological engineering utilises low-energy approaches to manage natural, constructed and industrial systems. It relies on a systems approach to problem solving, conserves non-renewable energy sources and supports biological conservation. It treats waste as a resource, and promotes development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Ecological engineering involves essentially practical solutions that require a sound understanding of how our environment works. It frequently complements conventional engineering approaches. A summary of key applications in comparison to conventional engineering approaches is outlined below, but the applications extend to any human interaction with the natural environment.

Wastewater Nutrient recycling Carbon, climate change and renewable energy Renewable resources Urban and built environment issues Natural resource and landscape management Agricultural Productivity Infrastructure Land restoration and mine site rehabilitation Contaminated site rehabilitation Air quality Project economics