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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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European salamanders and newts vulnerable to fungal disease from Asia

A skin-eating fungal disease brought to Europe by humans now poses a major threat to native salamanders and newts, scientists of the Universities of Zurich and Ghent University have warned. They say nations need to urgently consider appropriate biosecurity measures to stop the further spread of this pathogen.

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Bigger is better, if you're a leatherback sea turtle.

For the first time, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric...

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Penguin Chicks

Study Connects Weight to Local Weather Conditions

Adélie penguins are an indigenous species of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth. Since 1950, the average annual...

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NUS Researchers Discover for the First Time That a Rare Bush Frog Breeds in Bamboo

Scientists observed this new reproductive mode in critically endangered white spotted bush frogs in South India’s Western Ghats

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a new reproductive mode in frogs and toads - breeding and laying direct developing...

29.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

Giant Tortoises Gain a Foothold on a Galapagos Island

Endemic species establishes secure population; ecosystem needs further repair

A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española, a finding described as...

29.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

Where did the Deepwater Horizon oil go? To Davy Jones' Locker at the bottom of the sea

New analysis traces oil to its resting place on the Gulf of Mexico sea floor

Where's the remaining oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?

28.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

Impact of Invasive Species Varies with Latitude, Highlighting Need for Biogeographic Perspective on Invasions

University of Rhode Island ecologist Laura Meyerson and colleague Jim Cronin from Louisiana State University conducted an ambitious large-scale National Science Foundation funded study on native and invasive Phragmites australis (common reed) in North America and Europe. They found that the intensity of plant invasions by non-native species can vary considerably with changes in latitude.

“When looking at a continental scale invasion in particular, we can’t assume that the invasion is uniform across the region because of latitudinal differences...

27.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

Recently Discovered Microbe is Key Player in Climate Change

Tiny soil microbes are among the world's biggest potential amplifiers of human-caused climate change, but whether microbial communities are mere slaves to their environment or influential actors in their own right is an open question.

Now, research by an international team of scientists from the U.S., Sweden and Australia, led by University of Arizona scientists, shows that a single species...

23.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

Seaweed engineers build crustacean homes; old forests store new nitrogen

Highlights from the October 2014 issue of the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecology, published online today.

Invasive seaweed shelters native crustacean

23.10.2014 | nachricht Read more

'Shrinking goats' another indicator that climate change affects animal size

Alpine goats appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research from Durham University.

The researchers studied the impacts of changes in temperature on the body size of Alpine Chamois, a species of mountain goat, over the past 30 years.

22.10.2014 | nachricht Read more
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