Dalton George, Arizona State University; Jill Ferguson, North Carolina State University; Rex Alirigia, North Carolina State University;
Bioengineering ecosystems is a concept that promises to re-order relations between natural and human environments through the release and control of engineered and synthetic organisms. New relationships are often promoted as an alleviation of a prior harmful ecological dynamic, such as the relationship between the genetically engineered Hawaiian papaya and the papaya ringspot virus. Proponents of bioengineering claimthat novel biotechnologies can be used as tools for alleviating different kinds of harm across diverse ecological contexts, and increasingly advocate for bioengineering to play a role in environmental management processes such as environmental conservation, ecosystem restoration, and industrial sustainability. However, it's not clear that promotional visions represent a holistic conversation about the implications of environmental engineering and addressing ecosystem harms. What narratives are at the center of promissory futures around bioengineered ecosystems? Who's expertise, local knowledge, values, and interests are incorporated and excluded? What kinds of relations are being reconstituted, reconditioned, revitalized, or re-endangered? What social orders are emerging from these proposed socio-technical interventions? In this panel we invite authors whose work sits at the nexus of STS, bioengineering, and environmental management and probes different aspects of the socio-technical imaginaries and systems around engineering ecosystems. We welcome papers focused on established bioengineering applications such as agricultural production, as well as emerging areas of environmental conservation, ecosystem restoration, aquaculture, bioremediation, biosequestration and biomining. We encourage submissions that represent diverse intellectual perspectives and methodological approaches, and span a global conversation about emerging biotechnologies and environmental management.