You are on page 1of 16

CHAPTER II ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING AND ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

A. Definition of ecological engineering Ecological engineering is defined as the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both (Mitsch and Jrgensen, 2004). It involves the restoration of ecosystems that have been substantially disturbed by human activities such as environmental pollution or land disturbance; and the development of new sustainable ecosystems that have both human and ecological value. While there was some early discussion of ecological engineering in the 1960s, its development was spawned later by several factors, including loss of confidence in the view that all pollution problems can be solved through technological means and the realization that with technological means, pollutants are just being moved from one form to another. Such approaches require massive resources to solve problems, that, in turn, perpetuate carbon and nitrogen cycle problems, for example. Restoration ecology was described as the full or partial [re]placement 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, 1988). A definition of ecological restoration established as part of a National Academy of Science study in the early 1990s was the return of an ecosystem to a close approximation of its condition prior to disturbance (NRC, 1992). 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 important cornerstones of ecological engineering, namely: 1) recognizing the self-designing ability of ecosystems, or 2) basing the approaches on a theoretical base, not just empiricism. The development of ecological engineering was given strong impetus in the last decade with the publication of a textbook, the publication of the journal Ecological Engineering and the formation of two professional ecological engineering societies. The five principles defining ecological engineering are: 1) It is based on the selfdesigning capacity of ecosystems; 2) It can be the acid test of ecological theories; 3) It relies on system approaches; 4) It conserves non-renewable energy sources; and 5) It supports biological conservation. Ecology as a science is not routinely integrated into engineering curricula, even in environmental engineering programs. Likewise, ecologists, environmental scientists, and managers are missing important training in their professionproblem solving. These two deficiencies were addressed in the integrated field of ecological engineering. One way to view ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration, since they cover such a wide varieties of fields, is to consider the various fields on a spectrum of how

20

much conventional engineering (and, hence, reliance on human structures and our fossil fuel economy are involved; see Figure 2.1). On the right side of this spectrum are traditional ecological approaches such as prairie restoration or wetland restoration where quite often only a small effort of conventional engineering is needed. In some cases, wetlands (at least the hydrology) can almost be restored in a few hours or days if a drainage tile is broken or blocked, allowing the return of the original hydrology. In the middle of the spectrum are approaches such as biomanipulation or wetland creation where clearly more management and engineering are required. This is probably also true for wetlands built for wastewater or nonpoint source pollution control or for developing multi-species agroecosystems. At the far left of the theoretical spectrum are examples that involve significant amounts of energy and engineering. Intensely engineered systems such as Biosphere 2, clearly ecological engineering in the sense that ecosystems are being created, quite often are enormously subsidized, yet might fall within the definition of ecological engineering.
low low more sustainability potential reliance on self-design human engineering high high less

Biosphere 2

Biomanipulation

Prairie Restoration Wetland Restoration

Soil Bioremediation Wetland Creation Solar Aquatics Wastewater Wetlands

Mineland Restoration

Agroecological Engineering

Fig. 2.1. Spectrum of ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration (Mitsch and Jrgensen, 2004)

B. Principles of ecological engineering While ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration might prove that some ecological theories are not rigorous enough to survive real world tests, the principles below are based on ecological concepts that have a strong record of field verification. Principle 1Ecosystem structure and function are determined by the forcing functions of the system. Principle 2Energy inputs to the ecosystems and available storage of matter are limited. Principle 3Ecosystems are open and dissipative systems.

21

Principle 4Attention to a limited number of factors is most strategic in preventing pollution or restoring ecosystems. Principle 5Ecosystems have some homeostatic capability that results in smoothing out and depressing the effects of strongly variable inputs. Principle 6Recycling pathways must be matched to the loading rates to ecosystems to reduce the effect of pollution. Principle 7Design for pulsing systems wherever possible. Principle 8Ecosystems are self-designing systems. Principle 9Processes of ecosystems have characteristic time and space scales that should be accounted for in environmental management. Principle 10Biodiversity should be championed to maintain an ecosystems self-design capacity. Principle 11Ecotones, or transition zones, are as important for the ecosystems as the membranes are for cells. Principle 12Couplings between ecosystems should be utilized wherever possible. Principle 13 The components of an ecosystem are interconnected, interrelated and form a network, implying that direct as well as indirect effects of ecosystem development need to be considered. Principle 14An ecosystem has a history of development. Principle 15Ecosystems and species are most vulnerable at their geographical edges. Principle 16Ecosystems are hierarchical systems and are parts of a larger landscape. Principle 17Physical and biological processes are interactive. It is important to know both physical and biological interactions and interpret them properly. Principle 18Ecotechnology requires a holistic approach that integrates as far as possible all the interacting parts and processes. Principle 19Information in ecosystems is stored in structures.

References: Cairns, J., Jr. 1988. Restoration ecology: The new frontier. Pages 1-11 In: J. Cairns, Jr., ed., Rehabilitating Damaged Ecosystems, Volume I. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

22

Mitsch, W. J., S. E. Jrgensen. 1989. Ecological Engineering: An Introduction to Ecotechnology. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 472 pp. Mitsch, W. J. 1993. Ecological engineeringa cooperative role with the planetary life support systems. Environmental Science & Technology 27:438-445. Mitsch, W. J. 1998. Ecological engineeringthe seven-year itch. Ecological Engineering 10: 119-138. Mitsch, W. J., S. E. Jrgensen. 2003. Ecological engineering: A field whose time has come. Ecological Engineering 20: 363-377. Mitsch, W. J., S. E. Jorgensen. 2004. Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration. Wiley, New York. National Research Council. 1992. Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. Internet resources: Ecological Engineering (the journal), Volumes 1-23 (1991 present) published by Elsevier. Journal content and other journal information published at: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecoleng.

23

Slides 1&4

Madan, or Marsh Arabs, Mesopotamian Marshlands southern Iraq

Drainage of the Mesopotamian Marshlands

With permission from National Geographic; first published in textbook: Mitsch and Gosselink, 1986, Wetlands. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York

Richardson 2004

Slides 2&5

Drainage of the Mesopotamian Marshlands

Slides 3&6

Drainage of the Mesopotamian Marshlands


Bottomland Hardwood Forest Restoration
City Bik epath

Oxbow Wetland

Olentangy River

Experimental Wetlands

Heffner Wetland Building

Mesocosm Compound

Sandefur Wetland Pavilion

Olentangy River Wetland Research Park The Ohio State University

24

Slides 7 & 10

EDUCATION AND RESEARCH ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO ENHANCE OUR KNOWLEDGE AND WISE USE OF WETLANDS

Slides 8 &11

Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, Ohio State University

Slides 9 & 12
Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration

Restoring the Florida Everglades

25

Slides 13 & 16

Restoring the Florida Everglades

Treatment Wetlands

Slides 14 & 17

Restoring the Mississippi River Basin

Restoring Coastal Marshes in New Jersey

cre ate d we tla nd interce pting tiledrainage

restore d bottoml and fore st

Slides 15 & 18

Restoring the Skjern River, Denmark

Restoring Coastal Marshes in New Jersey

26

Slides 19 & 22

Biosphere 2 - the most costly ecological engineering of all

Strategy for environmental management Early 1970s

Industrialization and urbanization

impacts and emissions


ECOS YSTEMS

ECOSYSTEMS

Environmental technology

Ecological modelling

Slides 20 & 23

Biosphere 2 - the most costly ecological engineering of all

Strategy for environmental management today


Environmental technology Ecological modelling

HUMANS

ECOSYSTEMS

Environmental legislation Cleaner technology; Sustainable development Ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration Global environmental problems Climate change Ozone depletion Acid deposition Rain forest l oss

Slides 21 & 24

Biosphere 2 - the most costly ecological engineering of all

RAW MATERIAL

ENERGY

RECYCLING C

USE OF WASTE HEAT C T PRODUCTION C E


ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY

PRODUCT

L T

TRANSPORT

E T

E C O S Y S T E M S

CLEANER TECHNOLOGY

C
LIFE CYCLE ANALYSIS

APPLICATION L E T DISPOSAL E E

ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING AND ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

RECYCLING C

27

Slides 25 & 28
Human population (billions)

Change in population 1805-1999 and an optimistic (but realistic) prognosis 1999-2050

10 8 6 4 2 0 1800

Goals of Ecological Engineering


1. the restoration of ecosystems that have been substantially disturbed by human activities such as environmental pollution or land disturbance; and 2. the development of new sustainable ecosystems that have both human and ecological value.

1900

2000

2100

Year

Slides 26 & 29
Percent Change

100

Global Nitrogen Fixation

Ecological Restoration
the return of an ecosystem to a close approximation of its condition prior to disturbance

80

60

40 Atmospheric CO 2

20

0 1900

1920

1940

1960

1980

2000
Source: NRC, 1992

Year

Slides 27 & 30

Ecological Engineering
the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both

Terms that are synonyms, subdisciplines, or fields similar to ecological engineering ______________________________________________________ synthetic ecology restoration ecology bioengineering sustainable agroecology habitat reconstruction ecohydrology ecosystem rehabilitation biomanipulation river and lake restoration wetland restoration reclamation ecology nature engineering ecotechnology engineering ecology solar aquatics

Source: Mitsch and Jrgensen, 2004

biospherics

______________________________________________________

28

Slides 31 & 34

History of Ecological Engineering


H.T. Odum (1960s) mention of ecological engineering in several publications Ma Shijun (1960s-70s in China; 1985 in Western literature) father of ecological engineering in China Mitsch - taught course at IIT in 1975 called Ecological engineering and systems ecology Ecotechnology of Uhlmann, Straskraba and Gnauek (1983-1985) Mitsch and Jrgensen ecological engineering book (1989)

ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING ANNUAL MEETING MAY 1, 2001 UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA ATHENS

Slides 32 & 35

History of Ecological Engineering


First ecological engineering meeting in Trosa Sweden (1991) followed by Etnier and Guterstam book (1991, 1997) Ecological Engineering journal started (1992) Ecological engineering workshop in Washington DC at National Academy of Sciences (1993) IEES started in 1993 in Utrecht, The Netherlands SCOPE project in ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration established in Paris, 1994 - 2002 Discussions of American ecological engineering society in Columbus, 1999; AEES first meeting April 2001 Athens, GA Mitsch and Jrgensen (2004) and Kangas (2004) textbooks completed

Series of 4 workshops and subsequent special issue publications of SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment) project Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration ______________________________________________________________________________ Workshop Title Workshop Location Special Issue And Date Publication of Ecol Eng ______________________________________________________________________________ Ecological engineering in Tallin, Estonia Mitsch and Mander (1997) Central and Eastern Europe: November 6-8, 1995 Remediation of ecosystems damaged by environmental contamination Ecological engineering in developing countries Ecological engineering applied to river and wetland restoration Ecology of post-mining landscapes Beijing, China October 7-11, 1996 Paris, France July 29-31, 1998 R. Wang et al. (1998) Lefeuvre et al. (2002)

Cottbus, Germany Httl and Bradshaw (2001) March 15-19, 1999 ______________________________________________________________________________

Slides 33 & 36

ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING WORKSHOP MARCH 1515-16, 1999 THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLUMBUS

Self-design
The application of self-organization in the design of ecosystems

29

Slides 37 & 40

Systems categorized by types of organization (modified from Pahl-Wostl, 1995) ______________________________________________________________________ Characteristic Imposed organization Self-organization ______________________________________________________________________ Control externally i mposed; centralized control Rigidity Potential for adaptation Application Examples rigid networks little potential conventional engineering machine fascist or socialist society agriculture endogenously im posed; distributed control flexible networks high potential ecological engineering organism democratic society natural ecosystem

A Systems Approach

______________________________________________________________________

Slides 38 & 41
Nonrenewable Resource Conservation

Slides 39 & 42
The Acid Test

Conventional Engineering
Fossil Fuels
Conventional Engineer

Natural Energies

Services to Societ

30

Slides 43 & 46

Ecological Engineering
Fossil Fuels

Comp arison of ecotechnology and biotechnology _____________________________________________________________ Characteristic Ecotechnology Biotechnology _____________________________________________________________ Basic unit Ecosystem Cell Basic principles Ecology Forcing fun ctions, organisms Self-design with some human help Protected Reasonable Genetics; cell biology Genetic structure

E cological Engineer

Control

self design

Design

Human design

N atural E nergies

Services to So ciety

Biotic div ersity Maintenance and development costs

Changed Enormous

Mitsch (1998)

Energy b asis Solar based Fossil fuel based _____________________________________________________________

Slides 44 & 47
Ecosystem Conservation
To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intellegent tinkering. Aldo Leopold

Contrasts with Other Fields


Environmental engineering Biotechnology Ecology

Slides 45 & 48

Contrasts with Other Fields


Environmental engineering Biotechnology

The oretical Ecology


Evolu tio nary Pop ulatio n

Applie d Ecology
Resou rce Mgt.
Imp act Assessm ent

Co mm un ity Eco system s


Landscape Ecology

En viron . M o nitoring Eco to xicology


Risk Assessm ent

Ecological Engine ering

Eco logical Econom ics

The design, restoration, and creation of and ecosystems The design, restoration creation of ecosystems

31

Slides 49 & 52

Contrasts with Other Fields


Environmental engineering Biotechnology Ecology Ecotechniques/Cleaner Technology

Functional classification
Ecosystems are used to reduce or solve a pollution problem Ecosystems are imitated or copied to reduce a resource problem The recover of ecosystems is supported Existing ecosystems are modified in an ecologically sound way Ecosystems are used for the benefit of humankind without destroying the ecological balance

Industrial Ecology

Slides 50 & 53
Classification of Ecological Engineering

Examples of ecological engineering approaches for terrestrial and aquatic systems according to types of applications. ___________________________________________________________________________ Ecological Engineering Approaches Terrestrial Examples Aquatic Examples ___________________________________________________________________________ 1. Ecosystems are used to solve a pollution Phytoremediation Wastewater wetland problem 2. Ecosystems are imitated or copied to reduce or solve a problem 3. The recovery of an ecosystem is supported after disturbance 4. Existing ecosystems are modified in an ecologically sound way Forest restoration Replacement wetland

Mine land restoration

Lake restoration

Selective timber harvest Biomanipulation

5. Ecosystems are used for benefit Sustainable Multi-species without destroying ecological balance agroecosystems aquaculture ___________________________________________________________________________

Slides 51 & 54

low low more

su stainability potential reliance on self-design human engineering

Solving or reducing a pollution problem


high high less

Biosph ere 2

Bioman ipulation

Prairie Restoration Wetland Restoration

Soil Bioremediation Wetland Creation Solar Aqu atics Wastewater Wetlands

Mineland Restoration

Agroecological Eng ineering

32

Slides 55 & 58

Solving or reducing a pollution problem

Imitating or copying ecosystems

Slides 56 & 59

Supporting ecosystem recovery

Solving or reducing a pollution problem

Slides 57 & 60
Imitating or copying ecosystems

Supporting ecosystem recovery

33

Slides 61 & 64

Modifying existing ecosystems in an ecologically sound way Biomanipulation

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ecological Engineering Project Location Purpose References _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples of ecological engineering at different scales (cont.)

Ecosystem Scale
Created flow-through riverine wetlands Root-zone wetlands for wastewater treatment Non-point source control wetlands Surface-water wetlands for wastewater treatment Columbus, Ohio Snogerd, Sweden to experimentally determine the long-term effects of planting on ecosystem function to investigate use of root-zone wetlands to provide tertiary treatment of wastewater from small town Mitsch et al., 1998; in progress Gumbricht, 1992

central and southern Norway

to estimate the interaction between wetland retention Braskerud, 2002a,b efficiency and nutrient loss from agricultural watersheds Kadlec and Kn ight, 1996 Mitsch and Wise, 1998 Ma and Yan, 1989

Houghton Lake, Michigan to use natural peatlands to treat wastewater from municipality to prevent lake pollution to study iron retention from coal mine drainage with Typha wetland to use water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes ) systems for water pollution control and production of fodder

Renovation of coal-mine drainage Athens County, Ohio River pollution control Suzhou, China

Nonpoint source pollution control central Illinois

to create wetlands to remove nutrients from Midwest Kovacic et al., 2000 agricultural runoff Larson et al., 2000 to construct intertidal fences made from recycled Christmas trees to revegetation on mudflats and increased sediment trapping Boumans et al., 1997

Source: Hosper and Meijer, 1992

Intertidal sediment fences

southern Louisiana

Slides 62 & 65
Classification According to Scale

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ecological Engineering Project Location Purpose References ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples of ecological engineering at different scales (cont.)

Regional Scale
Restoration of riparian landscape Lake County, Illinois to restore Midwestern U.S.river floodplain and determine design procedures for restored wetlands to reconstruct wetland/upland landscape at phosphate mine to have multiple-product farming with extensive recycling to produce fisheries synchronized to Phragmites wetland production and harvesting to develop Spartina marshes onformer barren coastline for shoreline protection and food and fuel production Hey et al., 1989 Mitsch, 1992 Sanville and Mitsch, 1994 Brown et al., 1992 R. Zhang et al., 1998 Mitsch, 1991 Chung, 1985, 1989 Qin et al., 1997 Weinstein et al., 1997, 2001; Teal and Weinstein, 2002

Regional landscape restoration Agro-ecological engineering Fish production/wetland systems Salt marsh creation

Central Florida several thousand sites in China Yixing County, Jiangsu Province, China Chinas east coast, esp, Wenling, Zhejiang Province

Salt marsh restoration

Delaware Bay, New Jersey to restore salt marshes from salt hay farms and And Phragmites-dominated marshes

River backwater restoration

Rhone River, central to restore and enhanceriver and river backwater Henry and Amoros, France connectivity 1995; Henry et al., 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Slides 63 & 66

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ecological Engineering Project Location Purpose References __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples of ecological engineering at different scales

Mesocosm Scale
Treatment of septage wastes Harwich, Massachusetts to produce clean water (drinking water standards) from septage in an unlined landfill lagoon Guterstam and Todd, 1990; Teal and Peterson, 1991 Adey and Loveland, 1991 Marino and Odum, 1999 Busnardo et al., 1992 Sinicrope et al., 1992 Svengsouk and Mitsch, 2001 Ahn et al., 2001; Ahn and Mitsch, 2002b Schipper et al., 2002 Scale models of Everglades and Chesapeake Bay Biosphere 2 Washington, DC to simulate physical and biological function of large-scale ecosystems 1.5 ha glass-enclosed system to investigate ecology and humans in enclosed systems to investigate the role of hydroperiods on marsh retention of nutrients and metals to compare competitive growth of two wetland macrophyte species in low and high nutrients to investigate the use of sulfur scrubber material As liners for treatment wetlands to determine the role of fertilizer, seed additions and cultivation techniques for peatland restoration

When to Use Ecotechnology


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The parts of nature affected, directly and indirectly, must be determined. Quantitative assessment of impact of all alternatives must be carried out. Project needs to include entire system, including human impacts and affected ecosystem. Optimization should include short and long-term effects. Renewable and nonrenewable resource use should be quantified. Uncertainty should be accounted for in ecological and economic components.

Catalina Mountains, Arizona San Diego, California

Wetland mesocosms

Wetland mesocosms

Columbus, Ohio

Wetland mesocosms

Columbus, Ohio

Peatland restoration plots

Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand

Ecosystem Scale
Experimental estuarine ponds Morehead City, North Carolina Gainesville, Florida to investigate estuarine ponds receiving a mixture of wastewater and saltwater to experimentally investigate forested cypress domes for wastewater recycling and conservation Odum, 1985, 1989b Forested wetlands for recycling Odum et al., 1974; Ewel and Odum, 1984; Dierberg and Brezonik,

34

Slides 67 & 69
Ecological Design Principles

Ecological Design Principles ______________________________________________________ 7. Design for pulsing systems whenever possible. 8. Ecosystems are self-designing sy stems. 9. Processes of ecosystems have characteristic time and space scales that should be accounted for in environmental management. 10. Biodiversity should be championed to maintain an ecosystems self-design capacity. 11. Ecotones, transition zones, are as important for ecosystems as membranes are for cells. 12. Coupling between ecosystems should be utilized wherever possible.

Slides 68 & 70

Ecological Design Principles ______________________________________________________ 1. Ecosystem structure and function are determined by the forcing functions of the system. 2. Energy inputs to the e cosystem and available storage of matter are limited. 3. Ecosystems are open and dissipative systems. 4. Attention to a limited numb er of factors is most strategic in preventing pollu tion or restoring ecosystems. 5. Ecosystems have some homeostatic capability that results in smoothing out and depressing the effects of strongly variable inputs. 6. Match recycling pathways to the rates to ecosystems to reduce the effect of pollution.

Ecological Design Principle s __________________________________________________________ 13. The components of an ecosystem are interconnected, int errelated, and form a network, implying that di rect as well as indi rect effects of ecosystem development need to be considered. 14. An ecosystem has a history of development. 15. Ecosystems and species are most vulnerable at their geographical edges. 16. Ecosystems are hierarchical systems and are parts of a larger landscape. 17. Physical and bio logical processes are interactive. It is important to know both physical and biological inte ractions and to int erpret them properly. 18. Ecotechnology requires a holistic approach that in tegrates all interacting pa rts and processes as far as possible. 19. Information in eco systems is stored in structures.

35