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Ecological Engineering

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Ecosystem services, Ecosystem health, Sustainability, Ecological engineering, Social evolution


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,whichimplies theabilityofthesystemtomaintainits structure(organization)andfunction (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 de?nition as the ?design of sustainable ecosystems thatintegrate human society with its natural environmentfor the bene?t of both.? It allows the bene?ts 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.


NOTICE: this is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in Ecological Engineering. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Ecological Engineering, Vol. 45, 2012, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.03.023



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