Eco-exergy has been widely used in the assessment of ecosystem health, parameter estimations, calibrations, validations and prognoses. It offers insights into the understanding of ecosystem dynamics and disturbance-cl riven changes. Particularly, structurally dynamic models (SDMs), which are developed using eco-exergy as the goal function, have been applied in explaining and exploring ecosystem properties and changes in community structure driven by biotic and abiotic factors. In this paper, we review the application of eco-exergy for the assessment of ecosystem health and development of structurally dynamic models (SDMs). The limitations and possible future applications of the approach are also addressed. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.