This text is intended as a graduate level introduction to the new field of ecological engineering. It is really a book about ecosystems and how they can be engineered to solve various environmental problems. The Earth's biosphere contains a tremendous variety of existing ecosystems, and ecosystems that never existed before are being created by mixing species and geochemical processes together in new ways. Many different applications are utilizing these old and new ecosystems but with little unity, yet. Ecological engineering is emerging as the discipline that offers unification with principles for understanding and for designing all ecosystem-scale applications. In this text three major principles (the energy signature, self-organization, and preadaptation) are suggested as the foundation for the new discipline.
H. T. Odum, the founder of ecological engineering, directly inspired the writing of this book through his teaching. An important goal was to review and summarize his research, which provides a conceptual framework for the discipline. Odum's ideas are found throughout the book because of their originality, their explanatory power, and their generality.
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