Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 77–82 | Cite as

Theory and methodology of ecosystem engineering

  • Xiong Wenyuc
  • Huang Xi


Ecosystems engineering is specially designed for study and management of ecosystems. Its theory and methodology are mainly derived from systems ecology and systems engineering. An ecosystem is a biologically functional entity consisting of organisms, environmental factors and their interactional mechanisms which are naturally or artificially arranged with their appropriate functions in the system and also subordinated to the dynamics of the whole ecosystem. If an ecosystem is broken or disintegrated into independent or isolated parts, its structural and functional entity will be greatly modified or even completely destroyed. Yet without participation of organisms including human beings, a system is not an ecosystem. Within an ecosystem, all life, production and social activities are directly or indirectly related to the energy flow and material exchange. In fact, energy is a driving force for material exchange and material is the carrier of energy flow. Therefore, an ecosystem can be logically recognized as an energy system. Its components, structure, function, production, quality and benefits can be expressed, calculated and modelled in terms of energy. Ecoboundary theory is also used in the discussion of pathways of energy flow. As being applied to agroforestry management, environmental conservation and community social service which are all complicated ecosystems, ecosystem engineering requires a series of programming measures such as investigation, decision-making, planning, simulating, design, establishment, management, evaluation and renovation so that an appropriate ecosystem with stable structure, effective function and high productivity can be established for its expected economic, ecological and social benefits.

Key words

Systems ecology Systems engineering Ecosystem Ecosystem engineering Ecological engineering Ecoboundary 


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiong Wenyuc
    • 1
  • Huang Xi
    • 2
  1. 1.Nanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Northeast Forestry UniversityHarbinChina

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