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Ecology, environmental protection and nature conservation - for a green future

Ecology is a subdiscipline of biology that examines the interrelationships of organisms and their environment.

Ecology as a generic term for the overall relationship between living beings and the environment

Environmental protection and nature conservation are elements of ecology. Because environmental awareness has been on the rise since the middle of the 20th century, the term ecology is frequently used in the same breath as environmental protection andnature conservation. There is a demarcation line however. Ecology describes the relationship between living beings and the environment, while environmental protection and nature conservation involve measures aimed at preserving the environment. Although ecology research is a broad field, it can be broken down into three main subdisciplines :

  • Population ecology
  • Community ecology
  • Ecological system analyses

At a high level, ecology involves the propagation and frequency of organisms. Where do they come from? What type of organism did they originate from? How many are there? And where do they appear? The goal of ecological analyses is providing answers to these questions. Biotic and abiotic environmental factors that can influence the environment are also part any ecological analysis. What makes ecological research so difficult is the complexity of the biological systems. Individual observations serve less as focal points and more as general conclusions produced from mathematics, statistics or experiments. A vital part of ecology is reducing complex structures to simple conclusions based on natural science.

Environmental protection and its subdisciplines

While ecology takes a holistic approach, environmental protectionmainly involves measures aimed at preserving the basic existence of all living beings. This calls for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. For this reason, nature conservation plays a leading role in ecology as well as in environmental protection. A basic element of environmental protection involves rectifying human-induced damage to the environment. As a result, this requires observing not only the individual parts, but the overall relationships between the parts as well, The term environmental protection first gained attention in the 1970s. One of the primary goals of environmental protection is preserving the human ecosystem. Although preservation of the human ecosystem is a major aspect of environmental protection, technical solutions are still frequently employed. Environmental protection can be divided into several disciplines:

  • climate protection as a subdiscipline of environmental protection
  • forest protection as a subdiscipline of environmental protection
  • water protection as a subdiscipline of environmental protection

From a global point of view,environmental protection is always related to one of these subdisciplines.

Nature conservation as a demarcation line between environmental protection and ecology

Apart from ecology and environmental protection, an important area is nature conservation. Although environmental protection and nature conservation typically complement one another, there are certain exceptions. In the field of ecology, renewable raw materials such as wood are points of conflict between nature conservation and environmental protection. While nature conservation demands that trees be preserved as long as possible and eventually turned into deadwood for the ecosystem of a variety of animals, environmental protection views wood as a sustainable energy source and raw material. Environmental protection also seeks to avoid the radical deforesting of lands and forests. Within nature conservation there are also initiatives that oppose wind power and small hydropower systems. Under the context of nature conservation, the idea is to impact nature as little as possible. Nature conservation is also a local issue. Nature conservation frequently involves single locations. As it pertains to ecology, nature conservation examines ways to preserve and reestablish a balanced ecosystem. Nature conservation strives toward sustainable human use of our natural environment. Nature conservation is a goal of government and is established in Article 20a of the German constitution. Nature conservation also means the protection of animals and homelands. Many individuals also view nature conservation as important, because they understand the dramatic consequences if society is not actively engaged in nature conservation.

Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.

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UM-led research team contributes to the management of South Florida coastal environments

Collaborative research team publishes findings in special issue of Ecological Indicators

A Florida-based marine research team has developed a unique formal process and modeling framework to help manage South Florida's economically important coastal...

21.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate, study shows

The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, University of Arizona researchers have discovered

The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study by University of...

21.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Tiniest catch: University of Arizona scientists' fishing expedition reveals viral diversity in the sea

A fishing expedition of microscopic proportions led by University of Arizona ecologists revealed that the lines between virus types in nature are less blurred than previously thought.

Using lab-cultured bacteria as "bait," a team of scientists led by Matthew Sullivan has sequenced complete and partial genomes of about 10 million viruses from...

18.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Dispersant from Deepwater Horizon Spill Found to Persist in the Environment

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest accidental release of oil into the ocean, with approximately 210 million gallons gushing from the blown out well.

In an attempt to prevent vast quantities of oil from fouling beaches and marshes, BP applied 1.84 million gallons of chemical dispersant to oil to oil released...

17.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

bentekk startup delivers swift results of hazardous waste analysis

Matthias Schmittmann and Johannes Weber, Class 14 students at NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management, have together with the Institute of Measurement Technology at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) developed a portable environmental measuring device that records concentrations of noxious substances especially efficiently in the course of hazardous waste site management.

“The device analyzes samples up to 30 times faster than conventional technologies,” says chemical engineer Schmittmann, “and you get initial results in about...

17.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Spectacular Marine and Terrestrial Wildlife Haven Becomes Four Million-Acre Biosphere Reserve

Argentina’s Península Valdés is home to whales, dolphins, penguins, guanacos, and rheas

WCS provided technical assistance leading to the designation

16.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

For bees (and flowers), tongue size matters

When it comes to bee tongues, length is proportional to the size of the bee, but heritage sets the proportion. Estimating this hard to measure trait helps scientists understand bee species’ resiliency to change. Ecologists will report on this and other pollination research news at the Ecological Society of America’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Sacramento, Cal., August 10-15.

For bees and the flowers they pollinate, a compatible tongue length is essential to a successful relationship. Some bees and plants are very closely matched,...

16.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Belize's lobster, conch, and fish populations rebuild in no-take zones

A new report from the Wildlife Conservation Society shows that no-take zones in Belize can not only help economically valuable species such as lobster, conch, and fish recover from overfishing, but may also help re-colonize nearby reef areas.

The report—titled "Review of the Benefits of No-Take Zones"—represents a systematic review of research literature from no-take areas around the world. The...

14.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Zebra, Quagga Mussels Trump Pollution as Change Agents in Lake Erie

Over the last half century, Lake Erie has been known for its level of pollution and its population of invasive species. Of the two, the invasive species seems to have had the greater effect on the lake’s zoobenthic community.

That community—creatures living on, near, or below the bottom of the lake—is “fundamentally changed from its past,” according to a paper published online in...

11.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Climate change: Tropical species are most vulnerable to rising temperatures

A new study published today in “Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences” by researchers of the LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Goethe University shows that tropical species will be most at risk from rising temperatures as the discrepancy between physiological thermal limits and projected temperatures is highest in tropical regions.

In contrast, a large part of mammal and bird species in temperate zones will find ambient temperatures in 2080 within their tolerance ranges. However, indirect...

09.07.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mixing it up: Study provides new insight into Southern Ocean behaviour

A new study has found that turbulent mixing in the deep waters of the Southern Ocean, which has a profound effect on global ocean circulation and climate, varies with the strength of surface eddies – the ocean equivalent of storms in the atmosphere – and possibly also wind speeds.

It is the first study to link eddies at the surface to deep mixing on timescales of months to decades.

Im Focus: The World’s First Photonic Router

Weizmann Institute scientists take another step down the long road toward quantum computers

Weizmann Institute scientists have demonstrated for the first time a photonic router – a quantum device based on a single atom that enables routing of single...

Im Focus: Smallest Swiss Cross – Made of 20 Single Atoms

The manipulation of atoms has reached a new level

Together with teams from Finland and Japan, physicists from the University of Basel were able to place 20 single atoms on a fully insulated surface at room...

Im Focus: Researchers discover boron 'buckyball'

The discovery 30 years ago of soccer-ball-shaped carbon molecules called buckyballs helped to spur an explosion of nanotechnology research. Now, there appears to be a new ball on the pitch.

Researchers from Brown University, Shanxi University and Tsinghua University in China have shown that a cluster of 40 boron atoms forms a hollow molecular cage...

Im Focus: New Paths into the World of Quasiparticles

Quasiparticles can be used to explain physical phenomena in solid bodies even though they are not actual physical particles.

Physicists in Innsbruck have now realized quasiparticles in a quantum system and observed quantum mechanical entanglement propagation in a many-body system....

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