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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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Marine vessel tracking system also a lifesaver for wildlife

A new paper from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), in partnership with researchers and practitioners from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, Space Quest, Google, and SkyTruth, reviews the use of a maritime vessel communication and navigational safety system that is not only effective in protecting people, but wildlife such as whales, walruses, and other wildlife species as well. With improvements, say the authors, the system will ultimately result in greater engagement by vessel companies and operators in the conservation of marine resources.

The Automatic Identification System -- adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 2000 for use in collision avoidance, coastal surveillance, and...

12.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Stability in ecosystems: Asynchrony of species is more important than diversity

Whether an animal or plant community remains stable despite external impacts does not depend on biological diversity alone: asynchrony across the species is also a crucial factor. The more asynchronous the species in an ecosystem fluctuate in their abundances, the less likely it becomes unstable. As a result, diversity takes second place in terms of the factors to be considered in the context of ecosystem stability. A team of scientists spearheaded by the TU Munich and TU Darmstadt have published these findings in the journal “Nature Communications”.

The long-term functioning of ecosystems depends on the stability of their species communities, as these ensure the functioning of the entire system. However,...

12.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Hunting pressure on forest animals in Africa is on the increase

Many populations of African animal species have dramatically decreased or already disappeared altogether. A team of European researchers led by Goethe University Frankfurt has now predicted hunting pressure for the Congo Basin and produced a detailed map, which could help in regional planning.

Since about 25 years, animal species in West and Central Africa are no longer being hunted solely for the purpose of local self-sufficiency, but increasingly...

09.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects than previously thought

Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton.

The study, reported in the journal Scientific Reports published by Nature, found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore...

05.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Sluggish electrons caught in action

By creating and using the first optical attosecond pulse, scientists from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics measured the time it takes electrons inside atoms to respond to the electromagnetic forces of light.

In the race to establish ever-faster electronics, light could play an important role. For instance, using light pulses of a precisely controlled waveform,...

04.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Laboratory-bred corals reproduce in the wild

New hope for endangered corals: Scientists take an important step towards sustainable restoration of Caribbean reefs

Researchers of SECORE International (USA, Germany), the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the Carmabi Marine Research Station (Curaçao) have for the...

01.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Dominant ant species significantly influence ecosystems

Studies in tropical rainforests indicate that often single ant species cause the majority of resource consumption / Large differences between day and night

Ants and humans represent approximately the same amount of biomass on our planet. Together with other social insects, ants make up a third of the entire animal...

01.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

In Gulf Of Mexico, microbes thrive above natural oil seeps

New insight into how plankton and oil interact

In the water above natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas bubbles rise almost a mile to break at the surface, scientists have discovered...

26.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

O, no: Ozone levels elevated in presence of wildfire smoke

For those living with the threat to life and property from wildfires, Colorado State University scientists have some more bad news: Wildfire smoke seems to elevate levels of ozone, a nasty air pollutant with proven adverse health effects.

The influence of wildfire smoke on ozone levels during summer months in the United States is not well understood. CSU atmospheric science researchers took a...

26.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

Acidification affects the ability of bacteria to clean our oceans

Marine bacteria are heavily influenced by the ongoing ocean acidification caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide. This discovery was made by researchers at Linnaeus University, Sweden, together with researchers in Spain. The results are presented in an article in the recognised scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

“It is well known that the acidification of our oceans causes the degradation of coral reefs and disturbs the production of the calcareous shells of important...

12.01.2016 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae

Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.

The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...

Im Focus: The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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