Allenby, Braden R. Environment, Health and Safety Division, AT&T, Warren, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:May 2019
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The multidisciplinary study of industrial and economic systems and their effects on the environment. Industrial ecology incorporates research involving energy supplies, materials, technologies, and technological systems; physical, biological, and social sciences; economics; law; and business management. Industrial and economic systems are viewed not in isolation but in their cultural and ecological context. Both demand-side (consumer) and supply-side (producer) activities are included, as are all sectors of economic activity, such as mining, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing, and service activities. Industrial ecology also includes subsistence activities at the fringes of formal economic systems, which generate a number of important impacts on natural systems. Industrial ecology provides the understanding to support the reasoned improvement of the economic, environmental, and social efficiency of industrial systems (Fig. 1). See also: Applied ecology; Ecology; Environment; Human ecology
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