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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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Nature's tiny engineers

Coral organisms use minuscule appendages to control their environment, stirring up water eddies to bring nutrients

Conventional wisdom has long held that corals — whose calcium-carbonate skeletons form the foundation of coral reefs — are passive organisms that rely entirely...

02.09.2014 | nachricht Read more

Endangered Siamese Crocs Released in Wild

Seventeen Rare Siamese Crocodiles Released in Lao PDR by WCS and Partners

Fewer than 1,000 critically endangered Siamese crocodiles remain in the wild

The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today the successful release of 17 juvenile critically endangered Siamese crocodiles into a protected wetland in...

01.09.2014 | nachricht Read more

Study finds marine protected areas inadequate for protecting fish and ocean ecology

A new study reports that an expansion of marine protected areas is needed to protect fish species that perform key ecological functions. According to investigators from the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations, previous efforts at protecting fish have focused on saving the largest numbers of species, often at the expense of those species that provide key and difficult-to-replace ecological functions.

Many vital ecological functions of ocean ecology are performed by fish species that also are food for millions of people. This study uncovers a significant...

29.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Trash Burning Worldwide Significantly Worsens Air Pollution

Unregulated trash burning around the globe is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere than shown by official records.

A new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned in such fires, emitting...

29.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Climate change puts endangered Devils Hole pupfish at risk of extinction

University of Nevada, Reno and Desert Research Institute research shows rare fish struggling to survive

Climate change is hurting reproduction of the endangered Devils Hole pupfish, threatening the survival of this rare species that has numbered as few as 35...

29.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Cheetah menu: wildlife instead of cattle

Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) can give the all-clear: in a recent study they showed that cheetahs primarily prefer wildlife on their menu. The cheetah is a vulnerable species that only exists on Namibia’s commercial farmland in large populations. Here, local farmers see cheetahs as a potential threat for their cattle.

The conflict is an old one: wherever there are carnivorous wild animals, farmers are concerned about their livestock. In Namibia, the concern refers to the...

28.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Salmon forced to “sprint” less likely to survive migration

Sockeye salmon that sprint to spawning grounds through fast-moving waters may be at risk, suggests new research by University of British Columbia scientists.

Sockeye salmon that sprint to spawning grounds through fast-moving waters may be at risk, suggests new research by University of British Columbia scientists. 

25.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Novel recycling methods: The fluorescent fingerprint of plastics

LMU researchers have developed a new process which will greatly simplify the process of sorting plastics in recycling plants. The method enables automated identification of polymers, facilitating rapid separation of plastics for re-use.

A team of researchers led by Professor Heinz Langhals of LMU’s Department of Chemistry has taken a significant step which promises to markedly expedite the...

22.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Marine Protected Areas Might Not Be Enough to Help Overfished Reefs Recover

Young corals, fish turned off by smell of damaged habitats

Pacific corals and fish can both smell a bad neighborhood, and use that ability to avoid settling in damaged reefs.

22.08.2014 | nachricht Read more

Wildland Fire Modeling Can Lead to Better Predictions

If we can better understand scientifically how wildland fires behave, we’ll have a better chance to accurately predict the spatial and temporal evolution of high intensity wildfires, says Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, dean of the UAH College of Engineering, and professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Dr. Mahalingam is studying how wildland fire propagates in an effort to be able to more accurately model such fires via physically based computational models....

22.08.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Antarctic sea-level rising faster than global rate

A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting glaciers has caused the sea-level around the coast of Antarctica to rise by 2cm more than the global average of 6cm.

Researchers at the University of Southampton detected the rapid rise in sea-level by studying satellite scans of a region that spans more than a million square...

Im Focus: Breakthrough in light sources for new quantum technology

Electronic circuits are based on electrons, but one of the most promising technologies for future quantum circuits are photonic circuits, i.e. circuits based on light (photons) instead of electrons.

Electronic circuits are based on electrons, but one of the most promising technologies for future quantum circuits are photonic circuits, i.e. circuits based...

Im Focus: How the zebrafish gets its stripes

Zebrafish, a small fresh water fish, owes its name to a striking pattern of blue stripes alternating with golden stripes.

Three major pigment cell types, black cells, reflective silvery cells, and yellow cells emerge during growth in the skin of the tiny juvenile fish and arrange...

Im Focus: Uncloaking the King of the Milky Way: The largest star in our home galaxy's largest stellar nursery

Astronomers led by Shiwei Wu of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have identified the most massive star in our home galaxy's largest stellar nursery, the star-forming region W49.

The star, named W49nr1, has a mass between 100 and 180 times the mass of the Sun. Only a few dozen of these very massive stars have been identified so far. As...

Im Focus: NASA Begins Hurricane Mission with Global Hawk Flight to Cristobal

The first of two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft landed at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, on Aug. 27 after surveying Hurricane Cristobal for the first science flight of NASA's latest hurricane airborne mission.

NASA's airborne Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, mission returns to NASA Wallops for the third year to investigate the processes that underlie...

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