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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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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

Finding the 'conservación' in conservation genetics

Special journal issue highlights applications of conservation genetics in Latin America

A recently published special issue of the Journal of Heredity focuses on case studies of real-world applications of conservation genetics in Latin America,...

05.08.2015 | nachricht Read more

Argonne Finds Butanol is Good for Boats

National lab works with marine industry to demonstrate benefits of new fuel for boating

The battle for cleaner, greener fuels isn't fought solely on land – America’s rivers, lakes and surrounding seas are home to 17 million recreational boats...

03.08.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Self-healing landscape: landslides after earthquake

In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.

These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...

Im Focus: FIC Proteins Send Bacteria Into Hibernation

Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.

For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.

Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...

Im Focus: A Grand Voyage for Tiny Organisms

Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Mediterranean

Since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 many hundreds of marine animal and plant species from the Red Sea have invaded the eastern Mediterranean, leading...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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