Ecological Engineering at ESF
Does your to-do list include restoring streams and rivers? Do you worry about the devastation of our forests and rehabilitating urban brownfields? Consider a career in ecological engineering. Up and coming for the last three or so decades, this profession has grown rapidly over the last 10 years. The need is there. We - the global society - need ecological champions who recognize that humans must coexist with the natural world in mutually beneficial ways. We need influencers who understand that as conventional energy sources diminish we must amplify the natural ecosystem. At SUNY ESF we investigate the widespread effects of environmental degradation and prepare graduates to reverse this devastating trend. Insights gained from our research and activities supports the recovery of ecosystem structure and function and the associated provision of goods and services. Rooted in ecological theory, ecological restoration requires an integrated approach of different disciplines. SUNY ESF is uniquely suited for this work as our faculty and graduate students work at the intersection of academic areas.
Featured Ecological Research at ESF
Phytoremediation and Bioremediation
ESF has been working primarily with development of short rotation woody crops on degraded lands such as brownfield sites in New York. ESF also collaborates with wetland restoration ecologists in assessing the utilization of waste sites to restore salt marshes in central New York.
ESF works on several stream restoration projects in both rural and urban areas in New York state. Restoration activities may range from a simple removal of a disturbance which inhibits natural stream function (e.g. repairing a damaged culvert), to stabilization of stream banks, to more active intervention such as installation of stormwater management structures.
Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Systems
ESF faculty and students have constructed and tested novel treatment wetlands, biofilters, vermifilters, and aquaponics in the northern U.S., Canada, and Honduras. In addition to investigating their applications, ESF explores the internal treatment mechanisms, and develop mechanistic models. ESF thrives in sustainable struvite recovery from anaerobically digested dairy manure, producing revenues to underrepresented farmers while mitigating environmental impacts.