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Contribution of non—living, engineering technology

Contribution of non—living, engineering technology

Contribution of living, ecological systems 0% 100%

FIGURE 1.5 The realm of ecological engineering as defined by relative design contributions from traditional technology vs. ecological systems. Ecological engineering applications occur to the right of the 50% line. The six examples of ecological engineering applications covered in chapters of this book are shown with hypothetical locations in the design space. See also Mitsch (1998b).

design with the other portion contributed by the ecological system itself (Figure 1.5). Other types of engineering applications address environmental problems but with less contribution from nature. For example, conventional wastewater treatment options from environmental engineering use microbial systems but little other biodiversity, and chemical engineering solutions use no living populations at all. Case study applications of ecological engineering described in this book are shown in Figure 1.5 with overlapping ranges of design contributions extending from treatment wetlands, which can have a relatively even balance of traditional technology and ecosystem, to exotic species, which involve no traditional technology input. Three principles of ecological engineering design, common to all of the applications shown in Figure 1.5 and inherent in ecological systems, are described in Table 1.8.

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