COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ecological engineering techniques are succeeding in dealing with a host of major environmental threats plaguing Central and Eastern European countries.
Reports of that success were compiled for the current issue of the journal Ecological Engineering. Topics include remediation efforts around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, on the use of wetlands to filter heavy metals from industrial waste water, and on treatment of acidified soils from acid rain and mine drainage.
"The need for ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration is increasingly recognized in the developing and developed worlds," William Mitsch wrote in the journal's lead editorial. Mitsch is a professor of natural resources at Ohio State University and editor of the journal.
"Successes of ecological engineering make it an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional engineering approaches (to environmental problems), which are often much more expensive to construct and sustain."
This special issue of the journal follows a unique workshop held in late 1995 in Tallinn, Estonia, and sponsored by the United Nations. Twenty-seven representatives from 13 countries participated in the workshop, which was aimed at gaining information from and training planners, managers and scientists in Eastern and Central Europe.
"These "countries in transition" face unique environmental problems as a result of their recent domination by a centralized planning government system," Mitsch said. "In countries with limited financial flexibility, ecological engineering is attractive for its relatively low capital requirements during both project development and maintenance (stages)."
Papers included in special issue of Ecological Engineering:
- "Remediation of ecosystems damaged by environmental contamination: Applications of ecological engineering and ecosystem restoration in Central and Eastern Europe," William J. Mitsch and U. Mander;
- "Restoration of mined lands -- using natural processes," Anthony Bradshaw;
- "Acidification: Its impact on the environment and mitigation strategies," Lucjan Pawlowski;
- "Rehabilitating degraded forests in Central Europe into self-sustaining forest ecosystems," J. Fanta;
- "Efficiency and dimensioning of riparian buffer zones in agricultural catchments," Ulo Mander, Valdo Kunsemets, Krista Lohmus, and Tonu Mauring;
- "Ecosystem remediation in radioactively polluted areas: The Chernobyl experience," Vassili Davydchuk;
- "Remediation of depleted soils by addition of ion exchange resins," V.S. Soldatov, L. Pawlowski, E. Kloc, I. Szymanska, and V.V. Matushevich.