Ecological engineering: A rationale for standardized curriculum and professional certification in the United States Academic Article uri icon


  • The demand for engineering solutions to ecosystem-level problems has increased as the impact of human activities has expanded to global proportions. While the science of restoration ecology has been developed to address many critical ecosystem management issues, the high degree of complexity and uncertainty associated with these issues demands a more quantitative approach. Ecological engineering uses science-based quantification of ecological processes to develop and apply engineering-based design criteria for sustainable systems. We suggest that in the United States ecological engineering curricula should be offered at the graduate level and should require rigorous Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology-accredited (or equivalent) undergraduate preparation in engineering fundamentals. In addition to strengthening students' mastery of engineering theory and application, the graduate curriculum should provide core courses in ecosystem theory including quantitative ecology, systems ecology, restoration ecology, ecological engineering, ecological modeling, and ecological engineering economics. Advanced courses in limnology, environmental plant physiology, ecological economics, and specific ecosystem design should be provided to address students' specific professional objectives. Finally, professional engineering certification must be developed to insure the credibility of this new engineering specialization. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.

author list (cited authors)

  • Matlock, M. D., Osborn, G. S., Hession, W. C., Kenimer, A. L., & Storm, D. E.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • August 2001