Closing General Session

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9:30 am – 12:45 pm
Closing General Session
Moderator Trisha Moore
9:30 – 9:50 am (113) Jay Martin – Defining Ecological Engineering Through Research Applications
9:50 – 10:10 am (114) Glenn Dale – Applications and Challenges for Ecological Engineering Down Under.  An Australian Perspective.
10:10 – 10:50 am (115) Mark Brown – Beyond Growth: Economics as if the Planet Matters
10:50 – 11:15 am Closing Remarks, Student Poster Awards and Student Design Competition Awards Announced
11:15 – 12:45 pm Lunch (provided) and AEES Business Meeting – All Invited (Career Fair Raffle Winners Announced) View Business Meeting Agenda
1:00 – 5:00 pm Post Meeting Rafting Tour (Optional – Additional Fees Apply)

(113) Defining Ecological Engineering Through Research Applications

Presenter: Jay Martin, Ohio State University,

Abstract: Following studies in the 1960s using wetlands for wastewater treatment, ecological engineering is now applied in many diverse settings including agricultural, commercial and patented designs. The goal of this presentation is to define ecological engineering by reviewing past descriptions and through Dr. Martin’s research projects. This discipline will be characterized by reviewing the evolution of definitions including those from Odum (1963), Mitsch & Jorgensen (1989), and Matlock and Morgan (2011) that focus on supplementing natural ecosystems with human inputs and designing ecosystems for the mutual benefit of humans and nature. Key concepts that define and differentiate ecological engineering will be highlighted: self-organization, systems approach, and sustainable design. Relationships to ecological concepts such as diversity and resiliency will also be discussed by reviewing applications focused on agriculture, green infrastructure, watersheds and coastal systems. This talk will be delivered during a special Ecological Engineering session at ASABE 2019. It will be debuted at AEES 2019 to receive feedback from those working in the field of Ecological Engineering before presenting to a broader audience.

Biography: Jay Martin is a professor of ecological engineering who analyzes and integrates human and natural systems. As a faculty member in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a Faculty co-lead for the OSU Sustainability Institute, he seeks to use natural systems to improve water quality and increase sustainability. His interdisciplinary research links field studies, watershed models, and socio-economic analyses with stakeholder groups to investigate connections between downstream water quality and management practices in upstream watersheds. Currently, Dr. Martin is leading a $5M USDA-NIFA project to establish a Public-Private Partnership with crop consultants and farmers, to identify fields with elevated nutrient levels where management practices will be installed and monitored in an effort to reduce nutrient runoff. He is also leading an interdisciplinary research team to evaluate the impacts of a large green infrastructure project, “Blueprint Columbus,” on water, communities, ecosystems, economics and public health within the City of Columbus. Outside of Ohio, Dr. Martin’s other research has included Mayan agroecosystems in southern Mexico, biodigesters in Costa Rica, Andes wetlands in Colombia, and the use of algae as a soil amendment by Oʻahu farmers in Hawaii. As of 2019, he has published over 65 peer-reviewed articles, successfully advised over 35 Graduate Students and Post Docs, and been awarded more than $17M to support his research program. He is certified as a Senior Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America and a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio.

(114) Applications and Challenges for Ecological Engineering Down Under.  An Australian Perspective.

Presenter: Glenn Dale, Verterra Ecological Engineering,

Co-Authors: Ian Robb, Verterra,; Neil Halpin, Verterra,; Laura McCallum, Verterra,; Graham Mellish, Verterra,; Kathleen Murray, Verterra,; Dean Chaloner, Verterra,; Ben Silverwood, Verterra,

Abstract: Ecological Engineering offers great potential to help address the grand challenge of how people and nature can beneficially coexist on planet Earth. However, in an increasingly technological world, adoption of Ecological Engineering remains relatively limited, while conventional engineering approaches, based on minimizing the environmental impact of infrastructure and development, remain dominant, particularly in the developed world. Notwithstanding, many green shoots exist, signalling the potential for wider recognition and adoption of Ecological Engineering. Practical Ecological Engineering applications in Australia will be discussed, covering the mining, oil and gas, municipal and natural resource management sectors.  The inter-relationships and commonalities between these highly divergent sectors will be highlighted.  All apply a balance between the Malthusian doctrine of conserving earth’s resources and the Solowian doctrine of harnessing technology to solve wicked problems.  All incorporate engineering through quantitative approaches to ecological design to achieve defined performance characteristics.

Example applications of Ecological Engineering include:

  1. Mined land rehabilitation: Application of Bayesian modelling to support design and construction of functional post-mining landscapes as an alternative geotechnically engineered landforms.
  2. Waste water management: Replacement of energy intensive “grey” infrastructure and concentrated waste by-product, with carbon negative ecological treatment systems.
  3. Alluvial gully rehabilitation: Cost-effective rehabilitation of alluvial gullies exporting vast quantities of sediment and nutrient to the iconic Great Barrier Reef through re-establishment natural processes informed by Bayesian decision support modelling.
  4. Biosolids management: Exploitation of the biological heat of respiration, in combination with quantitative environmental characterisation, to facilitate conversion to an A Grade (unrestricted product) with significant soil health, crop productivity and environmental benefits.
  5. Agricultural production: Quantitative approaches to land characterisation and crop assessment that positively contribute to agricultural productivity and water quality.

Structural challenges facing wider adoption of Ecological Engineering will be discussed, and approaches to overcoming some structural barriers will be explored.

Biography: Glenn is Managing Director and Chief Technical Officer of Verterra.  Glenn holds a BSc in Forestry and Biochemistry, a PhD in Molecular & Quantitative Genetics and an MBA.  He holds an appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor with the University of Southern Queensland, is a board member of the Australia New Zealand Biosolids Partnership, and is a founding committee member of Foresters without Borders Australia.  After completing his PhD in Australia, Glenn received a Fulbright Scholarship and undertook postdoctoral research at North Carolina State University.  Glenn has over 32 years’ practical experience in natural resource management and ecological engineering, with broad international experience including New Zealand, China, USA, England, Spain, Portugal, Malaysia, Colombia, Brazil, Tanzania and Rwanda.  Glenn’s work was nominated as a finalist for the inaugural Institution of Engineers Australia National Salinity Prize in 2002, was runner up in the 2004 Australian Museum Eureka Science Prize for Industry, and was a finalist in the 2017 Premier of Queensland’s Export Development Awards.

(115) Beyond Growth: Economics as if the Planet Matters

Presenter: Mark Brown, Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences/University of Florida,

Abstract: To borrow a phrase from the title of E.F. Schumacher’s book Small is Beautiful: economics as if peopled mattered, we take a slightly wider perspective, and suggest an economics as if the planet mattered. We frame the economic system as a subsystem of the larger more encompassing geobiosphere and suggested that within this context, neoclassical economics is unlikely to provide a sustainable future for humankind. From this biophysical perspective, we suggested that increasing the amount or speed of money circulation as well as extracting more energy from whatever sources may be available will only compound problems in the long run and that relying on growth as the solution to what ails the global economy is not a desirable nor a tenable solution. What is required is an alternative economics… a new economics, that is not based on unlimited growth. An economics that does not equate money with wealth…an economics that actually measures well-being instead of GDP…an economics that is based on longevity and quality instead of quantity and throughput. Whatever term we finally use to describe it, above all the new economy must be, as Buckminster Fuller said, “….an economy that works for 100% of humanity.”

Biography: Dr. Mark Brown is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Policy at the University of Florida.  He is a systems ecologist, whose research focuses on systems ecology, emergy analysis, environmental policy, ecological engineering, and wetlands ecology.  Current and past research includes applied and theoretical approaches to understand the urban nexus, the interface of energy, environment, and economics.   He has served as consultant on development and sustainability issues to the USEPA, USAID, UNEP, and numerous Governments and private consulting firms worldwide.  In his career at the University of Florida, he has mentored 45 PhD students and 64 master’s degree students.