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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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Europe shows that humans and large predators can share the same landscape

The recovery of large carnivores in Europe is a great success for nature conservation. At one third of mainland Europe, at least one species of large carnivore is present, according to an article in the scientific magazine Science that researchers from 26 countries have contributed to. It is an excellent example that humans and carnivores can share the same landscape, says main author Guillaume Chapron, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

The recovery of large carnivores in Europe is a great success for nature conservation. At one third of mainland Europe, at least one species of large...

19.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Microplastics in the ocean: biologists study effects on marine animals

Ingestion of microplastic particles does not mechanically affect marine isopods. This was the result of a study by biologists at the North Sea Office of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) that was published recently in the journal “Environmental Science and Technology”.

The study marks the launch of a series of investigations aimed at forming a risk matrix on the sensitivity of different marine species to microplastic...

19.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Global CO2 emissions increase to new all-time record, but growth is slowing down

2013 saw global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reach a new all-time high.

2013 saw global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reach a new all-time high. This was mainly due to the continuing steady increase in...

17.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

WCS Documents a Major Comeback for Sea Turtles

Hawksbill turtles nesting success jumps more than 200 percent

SEA TURTLES ROAR BACK: WCS reports highest reported nest counts in Nicaragua

15.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Consider the Invader: Minor Differences May Have Major Impact

The interaction between invasive species may have a significant effect on affected native species

The effect of invasive species on native species can be profound, yet very little is known about the complex interaction between the invaders and the native...

11.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Abandoned wells can be 'super-emitters' of greenhouse gas

Princeton University researchers have uncovered a previously unknown, and possibly substantial, source of the greenhouse gas methane to the Earth's atmosphere.

After testing a sample of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, the researchers found that many of the old wells leaked substantial...

10.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Wetlands more vulnerable to invasives as climate changes

Invasive plants found to be more tolerant of changes than less adaptable native species

In the battle between native and invasive wetland plants, a new Duke University study finds climate change may tip the scales in favor of the invaders -- but...

10.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

New Research Suggests Caribbean Gorgonian Corals Are Resistant to Ocean Acidification

First study to analyze the effects of climate scenarios on important Caribbean reef coral

A new study on tropical shallow-water soft corals, known as gorgonians, found that the species were able to calcify and grow under elevated carbon dioxide...

09.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

A little rest from grazing improves native grasslands

Just like us, grasslands need rest to improve their health. A study just published by Point Blue Conservation Science in the journal Ecological Restoration shows a 72 percent increase in where native perennial grasses were found on a coastal California ranch when cattle grazing was changed to give the land more time to rest.

Over the last 300 years, nonnative annual grasses have invaded California's grasslands. These exotic grasses complete their lifecycle in one year and...

05.12.2014 | nachricht Read more

Arabian Sea humpback whales isolated for 70,000 years

The small non-migratory humpback whale population is genetically distinct, scientists find

Scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the Environment Society of Oman, and other organizations...

04.12.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum physics just got less complicated

Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. The result is published 19 December in Nature Communications.

Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of...

Im Focus: First series production vehicle with software control

Siemens has unveiled the first electric series production vehicle with the central elec­tronics and software architecture RACE.

This technology, developed in the research project of the same name, replaces the entire control system with standard hardware and a kind of "operating system...

Im Focus: Trigger mechanism for recovery after spinal cord injury revealed

After an incomplete spinal cord injury, the body can partially recover basic motor function. So-called muscle spindles and associated sensory circuits back to the spinal cord promote the establishment of novel neuronal connections after injury.

This circuit-level mechanism behind the process of motor recovery was elucidated by Prof. Silvia Arber's research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel...

Im Focus: Switching to spintronics

Berkeley Lab reports on electric field switching of ferromagnetism at room temp

In a development that holds promise for future magnetic memory and logic devices, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley...

Im Focus: Bugs life: The nerve cells that make locusts 'gang up'

A team of biologists has identified a set of nerve cells in desert locusts that bring about 'gang-like' gregarious behaviour when they are forced into a crowd.

Dr Swidbert Ott from the University of Leicester's Department of Biology, working with Dr Steve Rogers at the University of Sydney, Australia, has published a...

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