Ecosystem health and ecological engineering

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Ecosystem health is a desired endpoint of environmental management and should be a primary design goal for ecological engineering. This paper describes ecosystem health as a comprehensive, multiscale, measure of system vigor, organization and resilience. Ecosystem health is thus closely linked to the idea of sustainability, which implies the ability of the system to maintain its structure (organization) and function (vigor) over time in the face of external stress (resilience). To be truly successful, ecological engineering should pursue the broader goal of designing healthy ecosystems, which may be novel assemblages of species that perform desired functions and produce a range of valuable ecosystem services. In this way ecological engineering can achieve its goals, embedded in its definition as the " design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both." It allows the benefits of ecological engineering practices 'to both humans and the rest of nature' to be assessed in an integrated and consistent way that will allow us to build a sustainable and desirable future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-29
    JournalEcological Engineering
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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