To satisfy a growing population, much of Earth's surface has been designed to suit humanity's needs. Although these ecosystem designs have improved human welfare, they have also produced significant negative environmental impacts, which applied ecology as a field has attempted to address and solve. Many of the failures in applied ecology to achieve this goal of reducing negative environmental impacts are design failures, not failures in the science. Here, we review () how humans have designed much of Earth's surface, () the history of design ideas in ecology and the philosophical and practical critiques of these ideas, () design as a conceptual process, () how changing approaches and goals in subfields of applied ecology reflect changes and failures in design, and () why it is important not only for ecologists to encourage design fields to incorporate ecology into their practice but also for design to be more thoroughly incorporated into ours.


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