Biosphere 2, the fascinating 1.25-ha and up to 190 000 m3 atmosphere glass-enclosed mesocosm in the Arizona desert, explores the bounds and frontiers of the new field of ecological engineering.
This project set out to construct ecosystems or biomes, not monocultures, in a heavily subsidized environment, save for the sun, 50% of which did penetrate the glass, and the soil that was trucked in. Pumps were needed for the hydrologic cycle, blowers for atmospheric movement, and even a 165 000 m3 'lung' to relieve the pressure that builds up in the glass enclosed system. More than 10 MW of electrical power generating capacity stands nearby. Ecosystems did flourish in the various biomes, never turning out exactly as they had been planned, but always giving information that provides insight on their true analogs in nature. CO2 concentrations soared and O2 concentrations dipped during those first years, showing us the importance of plants, microbes, soil carbon, and even building concrete on the system's biogeochemistry.
This publication represents the most comprehensive assemblage of findings from Biosphere 2, findings that were subjected to a strong peer-review process. The papers range from calibrated models that describe the system metabolism, hydrologic balance, and heat and humidity, to papers that describe rainforest, mangrove, ocean, and agronomic system development in this CO2 -rich environment.
But the real point that resonates is the shear magnitude of what it costs in money, material, and energy to create enclosed healthy ecosystems, not a trivial point if we are some day interested in habitation in space. Biosphere 2 operational costs and annualized construction costs, in the order of $10 million per year, allows us to estimate the real cost of recreating planet Earth ecosystems. The ecological message is clear — we should appreciate and try to understand the workings of the ecosystems and the Biosphere that we have. Biosphere 2 helps us do that in many ways.
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Book Description Elsevier Science. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2593148758