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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.

Latest News:

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Saving coral reefs depends more on protecting fish than safeguarding locations

Reefs containing more than 600 kilograms per hectare of fish biomass should be conservation priorities

A new study by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has found that coral reef diversity 'hotspots' in the southwestern Indian Ocean rely more on the biomass of...

03.09.2015 | nachricht Read more

Seabird SOS

A new study inspired by a working group at NCEAS estimates that almost all seabirds have eaten plastic

Plastic debris in the ocean has been an environmental issue for almost half a century. Now, for the first time, scientists can predict the global impact of...

01.09.2015 | nachricht Read more

Northern bald ibises fit for their journey to Tuscany

January 2014 saw the launch of one of Europe’s largest species conservation projects. The project’s aim is to reintroduce the northern bald ibis, a species of migratory bird, to Europe by the year 2019. Veterinarians from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, make sure the animals are fit for their journey to the south. 31 hand-raised northern bald ibises are healthy and will begin their migration coming Saturday, following an ultralight aircraft towards Tuscany. Other 17 juvenile birds raised by their parents will follow experienced adult birds.

The northern bald ibis was native to Central Europe until the 17th century. Due to extensive hunting, this strange-looking migratory bird completely...

21.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

Boreal forests challenged by global change

Forest management must adapt in order to ensure that forests stay healthy in a time of unprecedented environmental change.

Management of boreal forests needs greater attention from international policy, argued forestry experts from the International Institute for Applied Systems...

21.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

More grasslands in Tibet could bring climate improvements

In the Arctic, enhanced vegetation growth amplifies global warming. On the Tibetan Plateau, however, the situation is the reverse.
“The trend in Tibet is the opposite of what we are seeing in the Arctic,” says Professor Deliang Chen from the University of Gothenburg. “By restoring grasslands there, the climate can be improved – both locally and globally.”

In the Arctic, warming increases like a spiral. Global warming means that the periods of growth are becoming longer and vegetation growth is increasing. At the...

20.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

The 'End of the high seas', or we watch the seas die

Even optimistic estimates for what might be achieved at December's Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris will not be enough to save the world's coral reefs, according to a Plenary session analysis presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Prague.

Speaking to the world's major gathering of geochemists, Professor Peter F Sale (University of Windsor, Canada) spelled out the stark choice facing climate...

17.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

Prospects for water reservoirs

New Water Research Network CHARM by the Universities of Stuttgart, Freiburg and Constance

Water, the basis of life, is becoming increasingly scarce; many ecological, economic and socio-political challenges and conflicts are increasingly linked to...

17.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

Researchers Find More Strategic Culling Needed to Reduce Lionfish Invasion

Existing Efforts Aren’t Enough - International Steps Must be Taken

We've all seen the stories – lionfish derbies and other efforts are ongoing in the United States and Caribbean, all with the goal of helping to decrease the...

14.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

Non-native marine species' spread, impact explained by time since introduction

The time since the introduction of a non-native marine species best explains its global range, according to new research by an international team of scientists led by University of Georgia ecologist James E. Byers. The study, published in the open access journal Nature Scientific Reports, also contains a warning: The vast majority of marine invaders have not yet finished spreading.

Invasion by non-native species is a worldwide problem that causes billions of dollars of damage annually--more than $120 billion in the U.S. alone, according...

11.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

GPS transmitters can protect animals from poaching

The case of Cecil shows: with the help of satellite transmitter systems, researchers can determine the cause of death of animals almost in real time

The killing of the lion Cecil in a national park in Zimbabwe by a big-game hunter has sparked worldwide outrage. Researchers at the University of Oxford had...

10.08.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact Inverter for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Silicon Carbide Components Enable Efficiency of 98.7 percent

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...

Im Focus: How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...

Im Focus: An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...

Im Focus: Increasingly severe disturbances weaken world's temperate forests

Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...

Im Focus: OU astrophysicist and collaborators find supermassive black holes in quasar nearest Earth

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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