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A Rationale For Standardized Curriculum And Professional Certification In Ecological Engineering

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.42.1 - 3.42.9

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Paper Authors

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W. Cully Hession

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Marty D. Matlock

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G. Scott Osborn

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Daniel E. Storm

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Ann L. Kenimer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2608 A Rationale for Standardized Curriculum and Professional Certification in Ecological Engineering

Marty D. Matlock, Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX G. Scott Osborn, Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX W. Cully Hession, Patrick Center for Environmental Research, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA Daniel E. Storm Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK Ann L. Kenimer Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX


As the impact of human activities expand to global proportions the demand for engineering solutions to ecosystem level problems has increased. The science of restoration ecology has developed to address many critical ecosystem management issues, yet the high degree of complexity and associated uncertainty demands a more quantitative approach. Ecological engineering is the science-based quantification of ecological processes to develop and apply engineering-based design criteria for sustainable systems, consistent with ecological principles that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both.

There is little consensus on what distinguishes ecological engineering curricula from existing environmental, biosystems, or agricultural engineering curricula. We suggest that ecological engineering curricula should be offered only at the graduate level, and should require rigorous ABET-accredited (or equivalent) undergraduate preparation in the fundamentals of engineering. The graduate curriculum should provide the student with a core of courses in ecosystem theory including quantitative ecology, evolutionary ecology, community ecology, restoration ecology, trophodynamics, and ecological modeling, while strengthening the student’s mastery of engineering theory and application. This curriculum should have a significant component to provide students with practical experience and inter-disciplinary contact. Additional courses in limnology, environmental plant physiology, ecological economics, and specific ecosystem design should be provided to address specific professional objectives of the student.

Finally, a professional engineering certification must be developed to insure the continuing credibility of this new engineering specialization. Several questions concerning acceptable standards of practice, codes of ethics, criteria for successful design, analysis of cost/benefit ratio, and safety factors must be addressed prior to development


Hession, W. C., & Matlock, M. D., & Osborn, G. S., & Storm, D. E., & Kenimer, A. L. (1998, June), A Rationale For Standardized Curriculum And Professional Certification In Ecological Engineering Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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