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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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Analytical lamps monitor air pollution in cities

Emissions of cars, ships or airplanes and dirty air of stacks pollute the environment and are harmful to our health - permanently they can even be fatal.

Optical measurement methods are able to detect and quantify low concentrations of pollutants like sulphur oxid, nitrogen oxid, ozone or VOCs.

26.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Nordic forests under pressure

In the future, Nordic forests may become increasingly torn between demands from global industry, climate change mitigation, and environmental concerns, according to a new book.

The Future of Nordic Forests – A Global Perspective was launched yesterday at the International Boreal Forests Research Association (IBFRA) conference 2015 in...

26.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Savannahs help to slow climate change

Tropical rainforests have long been considered the Earth’s key ecosystem as they sequester a substantial amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby slowing down the increasing greenhouse effect and climate change.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) exists naturally in the atmosphere, but it is also the greenhouse gas that is most altered by human activities, most notably fossil fuel...

22.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Surviving Harsh Environments Becomes a Death-Trap for Specialist Corals

The success of corals that adapt to survive in the world’s hottest sea could contribute to their demise through global warming, according to new research.

21.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Bugs and slugs ideal houseguests for seagrass health

Biodiversity as important as reducing pollution for seagrass ecosystems

Marine "bugs and slugs" make ideal houseguests for valuable seagrass ecosystems. They gobble up algae that could smother the seagrass, keeping the habitat...

20.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

For the first time, scientists tag a loggerhead sea turtle off US West Coast

Data from the satellite tag should help scientists understand what habitats loggerheads use and how to more effectively protect this endangered species

Fifty miles out to sea from San Diego, in the middle of April, under a perfectly clear blue sky, NOAA Fisheries scientists Tomo Eguchi and Jeff Seminoff leaned...

12.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Populated Puget Sound sees stark shifts in marine fish species

Forage fish declining, jellyfish booming in most densely developed parts of Puget Sound

The most populated areas of Puget Sound have experienced striking shifts in marine species, with declines in herring and smelt that have long provided food for...

08.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

A model approach for sustainable phosphorus recovery from wastewater

Reduce, reuse, recycle... with a profit

A new approach to wastewater treatment may be key in efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Moreover, it can be profitable.

06.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Services for innovative urban systems

Smart Urban Services pilot project gets under way in Chemnitz and Reutlingen

How can smart services help to create connected city systems for the city of the future? The Smart Urban Services pilot project “Data-based service platform...

06.05.2015 | nachricht Read more

Endangered corals smothered by sponges on overfished Caribbean reefs

Removal of sponge-eating fishes results in a greater than threefold increase in coral overgrowth by sponges

For reef-building corals, sponges do not make good neighbors. Aggressive competitors for space, sponges use toxins, mucus, shading, and smothering to kill...

28.04.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Advance in regenerative medicine

The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.

Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

Im Focus: First electrical car ferry in the world in operation in Norway now

  • Siemens delivers electric propulsion system and charging stations with lithium-ion batteries charged from hydro power
  • Ferry only uses 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route and reduces cost of fuel by 60 percent
  • Milestone on the road to operating emission-free ferries

The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...

Im Focus: Into the ice – RV Polarstern opens the arctic season by setting course for Spitsbergen

On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.

RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...

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